How private are Zoom meetings?
by Gerardo Mejia | April 2, 2021
This topic caught my attention, especially after the pandemic, because I see people using Zoom to replace human interaction more and more every day. Zoom is used throughout the day for multiple things including work, education, and personal meetings. At first, I thought that privacy issues were mostly limited to personal meetings, but I later learned that there are privacy concerns in both in education and in the workplace.
However, there was a small, although not too obvious loophole. Zoom considers this “Customer Content” to be under the user’s control, including its security, and thus it cannot guarantee that unauthorized parties will not access this content. I came to find out later that this is a major loophole that has been exploited in many instances. Although Zoom doesn’t take responsibility for this, there are many people that blame the company for not upgrading its security features. This all means that somebody would have to hack their way into my family’s private meeting in order to listen in. I believe that for most family gathering meetings the risk of this happening is not very high, so I would say it is safe to say that most family gathering zoom meetings are private as long as they are not the target of a hacker.
I had initially thought that the education field was not heavily affected by zoom’s privacy or security issues. After all, most educators have trouble getting all their students to attend, and who is going to want to hack into a class? I was wrong about that too. The most notorious example occurred in China where Zoom assisted the Chinese government in censoring content that it did not agree with. It is also important to note that in addition to class content, schools also have other types of meetings that are more private in nature that put some sensitive information at risk like grades or school records. These could also become target of malicious hackers. In conclusion, while censorship may not be a large issue in the United States, there are some countries where this is a real issue.