The US Senate reportedly advised members to stop using Zoom

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Senators have been told not to use Zoom. Reuters
  • US senators have been advised against using videocall app Zoom, according to the Financial Times.
  • Zoom has seen a huge uptick in usage because of the coronavirus pandemic, but this has been accompanied by a host of privacy issues and bad press.
  • Most recently the company apologised after “mistakenly” routing some of its calls through China.
  • The Pentagon told the FT it will continue to allow its staff to use Zoom.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

US senators have been advised not to use videoconferencing platform Zoom over security concerns, the Financial Times reports.

According to three people briefed on the matter, the Senate sergeant-at-arms – whose job it is to run law enforcement and security on the Capitol – told senators to find alternative methods for remote working, although he did not implement an outright ban.

With the coronavirus outbreak forcing millions to work from home, Zoom has seen a 1,900% increase in use between December and March to 200 million daily users. This has been accompanied by a string of bad press about its security and privacy practices, to the point where CEO Eric Yuan was forced to publicly apologise last week.

This week the company admitted to “mistakenly” routing data through China in a bid to secure more server space to deal with skyrocketing demand. “We failed to fully implement our usual geo-fencing best practices. As a result, it is possible certain meetings were allowed to connect to systems in China, where they should not have been able to connect,” Yuan said.

The news sparked outrage among some senators, and Senate Democrat Richard Blumenthal called for the FTC to launch an investigation into the company.

“As Zoom becomes embedded in Americans’ daily lives, we urgently need a full & transparent investigation of its privacy and security,” the senator tweeted.

The slew of privacy issues has also prompted the Taiwanese government to ban its officials from using Zoom, and Google banned use of the app on work computers due to its “security vulnerabilities.”

While the Senate has told its members to stay away from Zoom, the Pentagon told the FT that it would continue to allow its staff to use the platform. A memo sent to top cybersecurity officials from the Department of Homeland Security said that the company was being responsive when questioned about concerns over the security of its software, Reuters reported.