Home > Breaking News > Elizabeth Warren demands information about children’s privacy policies in a letter to Zoom CEO

Elizabeth Warren demands information about children’s privacy policies in a letter to Zoom CEO


In a letter today to Zoom CEO Eric Yuan, Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Ed Markey (D-MA) raised new concerns about the service’s privacy and security policies amid unprecedented use of the product. by the consumer in education and elsewhere. The letter pays special attention to users under the age of 13 who are subject to special privacy protections under the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA).

The letter details several recent Zoom security and privacy issues, including recent harassment attacks “Zoombombing” and it’s an iOS app that inadvertently shares data with Facebook.

“We appreciate your announced intention to address each of these issues,” the letter reads, “but it is alarming that Zoom has allowed these security breaches to affect millions of users and did not identify or resolve them until they were made public”.

Yuan has acknowledged that Zoom was unprepared for the increase in non-business users. We have a lot of work to do to ensure the safety of all these new consumer use cases, Yuan said in a live public broadcast on Wednesday. “But what I can promise you is that we take these problems very, very seriously.”

As a business app, Zoom was not created with underage users in mind, and the company’s privacy policy states that it does not “knowingly allow children under the age of 16 to register for their accounts,” although there is a special provision for the Zoom Education service. Still, Warren and Markey point out that the increase in usage makes it likely that many teachers have ended up using the free service as an emergency measure. Zoom also collects various data from free users, so the app may have collected the data from children.

In light of those concerns, Warren and Markey ask Yuan for detailed and specific information about the company’s data practices and security history. In particular, senators request a full count of any data breaches the service has experienced, as well as all reported Zoombombing incidents in a class context. Senators also request more extensive information on how Zoom works to maintain COPPA compliance.

The letter comes amid an unprecedented increase in app scrutiny, which had been largely restricted to business users before the COVID-19 pandemic. Yesterday, Markey asked the Federal Trade Commission to establish official privacy standards for video conferencing tools, a possible sign of increasing regulation in space.

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