Zoom CEO apologizes, pledges security, privacy focus for video service

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Zoom CEO Eric Yuan says the video conferencing service will forego work on any new features over the next 90 days to focus on upgrading and bolstering the online platform’s security and privacy protections.

The San Jose, California-headquartered online video provider has seen usage skyrocket as tens of millions across the globe have used Zoom to connect with co-workers, family and friends during the coronavirus crisis.

However, the video conferencing tool has faced some challenges with interlopers “zoom-bombing” other users’ online meetings and computer security experts have found flaws in the software.

“We have strived to provide you with uninterrupted service and the same user-friendly experience that has made Zoom the video-conferencing platform of choice for enterprises around the world, while also ensuring platform safety, privacy, and security,” Yuan said in a post on the Zoom blog late Wednesday. “However, we recognize that we have fallen short of the community’s – and our own – privacy and security expectations.”

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Eric Yuan, CEO of Zoom Video Communications

Over the next 90 days Yuan said the company would enact a “feature freeze” and shift “all our engineering resources to focus on our biggest trust, safety, and privacy issues.”

“We are committed to dedicating the resources needed to better identify, address, and fix issues proactively,” he said. “We are also committed to being transparent throughout this process. We want to do what it takes to maintain your trust.”

Zoom had released fixes for many of the issues brought to its attention including flaws that could be used to hijack a user’s Mac computer and access the webcam and microphone, Yuan said.

Also on Thursday, Zoom said it would remove a feature in the software identified and analyzed by The New York Times that data-mined user names and email addresses and matched them with their LinkedIn profiles.

Zoom usage has, in Yuan’s words, “ballooned,” with more than 200 million daily meeting participants on its free and paid versions in March, compared to a high in 2019 of 10 million. “We now have a much broader set of users who are utilizing our product in a myriad of unexpected ways, presenting us with challenges we did not anticipate when the platform was conceived,” he said.


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