US Senate reportedly tells members to avoid Zoom

The US told members to avoid using for remote work during the coronavirus lockdown due to security issues surrounding the videoconferencing app, the Financial Times reported Thursday. It isn’t an official ban, like Google issued for its employees, but senators were apparently asked to use an alternative platform.

Senators are currently negotiating about expanding aid for businesses affected by the outbreak, as part of a broader $2 trillion economic relief package. The Taiwanese and German governments reportedly already put restrictions on officials’ use of Zoom, as have some US school districts.

“We are in communication with US Senate offices and focused on providing the information they need, including about our tailored Zoom for Government offering, which is hosted in a separate cloud and meets the particular specifications of FedRAMP security policies, to make informed decisions about their policies,” a Zoom spokesperson said in an emailed statement.

Zoom experienced a surge in popularity as the pandemic forced millions of people to stay home. CEO Eric Yuan revealed last week that the platform’s daily meeting participants rose from 10 million in December to 200 million in March.

The increased use put the spotlight on Zoom’s privacy and security, from its attention-tracking features to uninvited attendees “Zoombombing” meetings, and has spawned several lawsuits against the company. Yuan outlined a plan to address the security issues in the next 90 days and said Wednesday that cybersecurity expert Alex Stamos, formerly Facebook’s chief security officer, joined the company as an outside adviser to help perform a security review.

The Senate didn’t respond to a request for comment.

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