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Zoom settles with the FTC

The Federal Trade Commission has settled with Zoom over user privacy and encryption discrepancies.    The video conferencing company is facing backlash that it didn‘t disclose to users that its service was not encrypted end-to-end. The FTC on Monday said that as a result, Zoom’s “misleading” claims gave users a false sense of security.

Quoting CRN:

The FTC‘s complaint said that Zoom misled users by saying it offered “end-to-end, 256-bit encryption” to secure users’ communications since 2016. In reality, the commission said that Zoom held the cryptographic keys that could allow Zoom to access the content of its customers’ meetings. 

The new settlement has Zoom agreeing to establishing and implementing a new, comprehensive security program, a prohibition on privacy and security misrepresentations, and other detailed and specific relief to protect its user base, according to the FTC.

And quoting the Verge:

Under the terms of the agreement with the FTC, which has no financial component, Zoom has to take specific steps to address the problems in the agency’s complaint and review software updates for security flaws. The company is also “prohibited from making misrepresentations about its privacy and security practices,” including how it collects and uses customers’ personal data as well as “the extent to which users can control the privacy or security of their personal information.”

Zoom also has to have an independent third-party assess its security every other year and notify the FTC in the event of a data breach.

Why do we care?

I have two reasons we care here.

First, my take is that this is government doing its job – you make misleading claims, the government steps in.    We’ve seen this before, particularly around the use of warrants in investigation.   

The second is this – for the most part, everything in the settlement were actions the company was already taking.   It’s possible to be critical of their missteps and judge the recovery positively.   We don’t expect perfection, we do judge based on how they handle it.     I’ve been encouraged by their moves. 

We’ll see how they do after we consider the next story…..

Source: CRN

Source: The Verge