Zoom To Pay Up Big Time In “Zoom-Bombing” Class Action Lawsuits

For those of you who aren’t aware of this. “Zoom-Bombing” is when uninvited guests crash your Zoom meeting and do anything from just listen in to playing porn, or anything in between. It was a big deal a couple of years ago. This led to a string of class action lawsuits against Zoom claiming:

  • Zoom failed to prevent “Zoombombings”
  • Zoom unlawfully shared data with authorized third parties such as Facebook, Google and LinkedIn
  • Zoom lied about the strength of its end-to-end encryption protocols

I guess Zoom decided that it was cheaper to settle than to fight. Which has led to them settling 14 different class action lawsuits:

As part of the settlement agreement, Zoom Video Communications, the company behind the teleconference application that grew popular during the pandemic, will pay the $85m to users in cash compensation and also implement reforms to its business practices.

And here are the changes that Zoom must make:

As part of the settlement, Zoom has agreed to over a dozen changes to its business practices that are designed to “improve meeting security, bolster privacy disclosures and safeguard consumer data”, according to court documents.

As part of those changes, the company is required to develop and maintain a user-support ticket system to track reports of meeting disruptions, a documented process for communicating with law enforcement regarding disruptions that include illegal content, a suspend-meeting button and the ability to block users from certain countries.

A lawyer representing Zoom put out a comment putting some spin on this:

Mark Molumphy, a partner at Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy, LLP said:

“Millions of Americans continue to use Zoom’s platform with the expectation that their conversations will be kept private and secure. This groundbreaking settlement will provide a substantial cash recovery to Zoom users and implement privacy practices that, going forward, will help ensure that users are safe and protected.”

But at the same time a lawyer representing the plaintiffs had this to say:

Tina Wolfson, a partner at Ahdoot Wolfson said:

“In the age of corporate surveillance, this historic settlement recognizes that data is the new oil and compensates consumers for unwittingly providing data in exchange for a free service. It also compensates those who paid for a product they did not receive and commits Zoom to changing its corporate behavior to better inform consumers about their privacy choices and provide stronger cybersecurity.”

Now, you don’t have to wait for Zoom to make changes to protect yourself from being “Zoom-Bombed”. Here’s my tips for using Zoom safely:

  • When you send out a meeting invite, ensure that the meeting has a password associated with it. This support document can help you with that.
  • Don’t share the meeting invite on social media. Send it directly to the invitees.
  • Use the waiting room function which puts users who join your meeting into a virtual waiting room that allows you to identify them and admit them to the meeting if they are supposed to be there. This support document will explain how to use that feature.
  • Don’t use your personal meeting ID for meetings if you can avoid it.
  • Keep your audio and video off by default when joining a meeting. That way when you join, you can enable what you need to or feel comfortable enabling. This support document will tell you how to do that.
  • Don’t keep Zoom running on your computer if you don’t need it.
  • Make sure you have a strong password for your Zoom account. This support document can help you with that.

The first four items will help you to mitigate “Zoom-Bombings”. The last three are more of a suggestion to protect your privacy.

Hopefully Zoom learns from this as this is not the first time that Zoom has paid up to make a lawsuit go away. And I have to imagine that cutting these cheques is starting to get expensive.

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