Zoom Video Communications, the video conferencing company whose Internet application became a mainstay of American life during the coronavirus pandemic, agreed to pay $ 85 million and improve its security practices to resolve a lawsuit alleging it violated the privacy of its users.
Filed in March 2020, shortly after the pandemic hit the United States, the lawsuit claimed that Zoom shared personal data with third-party Internet services and allowed hackers to disrupt online meetings through so-called “Zoombombing,” a phenomenon in which Internet trolls take advantage of a screen sharing feature in the video conferencing application to display offensive messages or images.
Under the settlement, which still requires federal judge approval, Zoom subscribers would be eligible to receive a 15 percent refund on their primary subscriptions or $ 25, whichever is greater. Other users could receive a refund of up to $ 15.
The company also agreed to notify users when others use third-party apps during meetings and to provide privacy and data handling training to its employees.
“The privacy and security of our users are Zoom’s top priorities, and we take seriously the trust our users place in us,” the company said in a statement. “We are proud of the advancements we have made on our platform and look forward to continuing to innovate with privacy and security at the forefront.”
By agreeing to settle the case, the company denied any wrongdoing.
In the spring of 2020, 14 collective complaints were filed against the company by Zoombombing, a phenomenon widely discussed in the first weeks of quarantine that often involved pornography and racist language. This included, for example, posting messages from white supremacists during a webinar on anti-Semitism.
In May, the US District Court for the Northern District of California consolidated the numerous complaints into a single class action lawsuit.
The lawsuit also claimed that Zoom shared users’ personal data with third-party services such as Facebook, Google, and LinkedIn and that it falsely told users that its service provided end-to-end encryption, a security measure that it aims to prevent. that outsiders eavesdrop. about online communications.