IDI Expert Dr. Tehilla Shwartz Altshuler: "Now is the time for the appropriate regulatory authorities to act and protect the privacy of Zoom's users."
Dr. Tehilla Shwartz Altshuler, Senior Researcher at the Israel Democracy Institute, commented on a statement by Zoom Video Communications on planned updates to its software security including that it will now require users who access a meeting without a direct link to enter a password and the need for new meeting participants to be manually authorized by a host.
In today’s market, the methods of collecting data are varied and the value of the vast data and the possibilities available to Zoom, are endless. Zoom not only collects data via cookies, it also records all conversations that take place using the application. Just a few examples how the company can use this data include: training artificial intelligence systems to convert video or voice to text or to identify emotions, gathering information on the users as individuals - what their voices sound like, how they conduct meetings, their personal interest and even what their homes looks like. All of this information is of incalculable value to advertisers and other commercial interests.
The longer social distancing practices due to the coronavirus continue – the more data Zoom can collect – and the more serious the problem will become. It is only a matter of time until even more serious repercussions become apparent from the mass use of this program. The relative ease in which sensitive information on Zoom can be abused poses a serious threat to its users. During these challenging times, Zoom's stock has skyrocketed and the numbers of users has grown more than eighty percent within a month. Now is the time for the appropriate regulatory authorities to act and protect the privacy of Zoom's users.”