Just as it shut down many businesses, the coronavirus pandemic helped several others boost their popularity, and consequently their profit.
Privacy and security shouldn't be reserved for those who can pay. I urge Zoom to rethink its decision to charge users for strong encryption. https://t.co/byfZId39mP— Ron Wyden (@RonWyden) June 4, 2020
Being amongst the top winners, the use of video calling software spiked in an unprecedented way, as most businesses shifted their operations to work from home settings, in efforts to contain the COVID-19 outbreak.
Zoom, in particular, stole the show with numbers of users tripling over the first three weeks of closures. In April 2020, the video conferencing service reported 300 million users on a daily basis, compared to only about 10 million last December.
Yet, the service out-growing all other video calling programs due to its many enhanced services offered to non-paying clients have been facing strong backlash, mainly over security concerns.
Heads up, American friends:— Alice Stollmeyer (@StollmeyerEU) June 4, 2020
FBI & police can access your #Zoom calls.
With current militarization of police & politicization of military under Trump, that doesn't feel... safe.
Reminder: there are safer alternatives.#2020Protests #BlackLivesMatterhttps://t.co/LTT8IuRpoV
Last March, the Intercept banished the company's marketing claims of end-to-end encryption of meetings, forcing Zoom to apologize and issue a clarifying statement in which they explained that "it uses transport encryption known as TLS, which doesn't keep users' calls away from the company's reach."
Since then, the company announced several updates aimed at increasing users' security, including "changing the minimum default password length to six characters for meetings, webinars, and cloud recordings and giving the capability to admins to disable sharing on cloud recordings and setting their expiration times."
More than a dozen security and privacy problems have been found in Zoom. Here's an updated list. https://t.co/WWZ4GGeB4b— Jesse Stommel (@Jessifer) June 3, 2020
However, Zoom still faces a lot of criticism from users, especially after its CEO Eric Yuan's statements during a meeting with investors that they "are not encrypting calls made by free users, justifying their decision by their desire "to make them available to the FBI and local law enforcement administrations to trace those who use the program for bad purposes."
As a result, internet users have been warning each other against using the booming software, urging them to use "safer programs that don't violate users' privacy."
Also, internet experts have been questioning the company's real motives especially that terrorists and criminals will easily have access to encrypted calls through paid plans that can't exceed a $100 a month, in comparison with small business owners who are already struggling due to the financial crisis triggered by COVID-19 closures.
Brilliant!— Blessing Museki (@BlessingMuseki) June 4, 2020
Because terrorists and drug dealers will struggle to pay the $40 monthly subscription charge!
The more news of Zoom's low privacy settings going viral, the more suspicious millions of people will grow of it, especially as more businesses go back to their physical spaces around the world, negatively impacting their urge to use the software.
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