• Steve Cullen

Privacy concerns re video-chat app Zoom

The coronavirus lockdown has prompted many of us to use video-chat applications for the first time, or more regularly than we used to. I've been asked quite few questions about them and, in particular, about Zoom as it seems to have been the most popular one being considered by the people asking me questions.

We do know that Zoom was hit by a series of security flaws last year, which could have allowed hackers to take over webcams and shared screens, and send spoof messages between users.

There are also ongoing concerns over the app's privacy measures and Zoom doesn't offer end-to-end encryption of video and audio meetings. This means the company can see and hear what you say and do, although the company denies looking or listening in. Reports also suggest Zoom, which is based in China, shares data with Facebook and is vulnerable to malicious links being shared. The company says they are constantly reviewing security and I have no reason to disbelieve them but I would urge caution in using Zoom and other similar products.

Whilst it is fine to use these platforms for catch up chats be very cautious about discussing identifiable personal or sensitive data. You don't know who is listening!

I'm sure the ICO realises these are not normal times and we are having to use methods of communication that aren't normally necessary, but we do need to continue to safeguard everybody's personal data.

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