New York City Schools Ban Zoom over Security and Privacy Woes

The State of New York has decided to ban Zoom from city schools amid news of security and privacy concerns surrounding the popular videoconferencing software.

“DOE staff and service providers should cease using Zoom as soon as possible,” Department of Education Chancellor (DOE) Richard Carranza said last week.

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced people around the globe – from teachers and students to remote workers and even executives – to turn to videoconferencing tools. However, an alarming number of security and privacy issues have surfaced regarding the platform, including a sketchy privacy policy, an attendee attention tracker feature, incorrect claims regarding the tool’s end-to-end encryption, hidden data-sharing features integrating with Facebook an Linkedin, and even an issue that could allow bad actors to run malware or steal users’ passwords.

Moreover, two vulnerabilities have been found in Zoom that can be used to take over computers running macOS, including turning on the device’s webcam and microphone. More recently, authorities sounded the alarm regarding trolls crashing and disrupting Zoom meetings in a practice referred to as “Zoombombing.”

Zoom is actively addressing these issues, and has promised to continue patching the holes quickly and efficiently.

In the meantime, Carranza tells NYC principals, “We want people to gradually transition to another format. We’re going to do this in a thoughtful manner,” he said during a press conference Sunday.

According to the new guidance, schools should switch “as soon as possible” to Microsoft Teams, which the education department says works the same but is more secure.

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