Google employees are longer allowed to use Zoom at work as of this week. This comes from spokesperson Jose Castaneda who has confirmed the rumor and said that this step was taken to mitigate the security concerns during COVID-19.
Zoom is a popular videoconferencing software but it will no longer be available for employees to use on their proprietary devices. Zoom is a competitor to Google’s Meet and was witnessing a big jump in general and professional use during the quarantine time. This all started when Google emailed its employees whose work laptops were using Zoom that it had security vulnerabilities and that the software would cease to function on employees’ laptops soon.
Google spokesperson Jose Castaneda said, ‘We have long had a policy of not allowing employees to use unapproved apps for work that are outside of our corporate network. Recently, our security team informed employees using Zoom Desktop Client that it will no longer run on corporate computers as it does not meet our security standards for apps used by our employees. Employees who have been using Zoom to stay in touch with family and friends can continue to do so through a web browser or via mobile.’
Zoom has its headquarters in San Jose, California and went public in 2019 thus making its CEO Eric Yuan a billionaire. The company’s videoconferencing service was designed, initially, for helping the corporations conduct webinars and meetings but during the COVID-19 pandemic, people are using it for more purposes as well. As opposed to 10 million persons using Zoom daily in December 2019, last month almost 200 million people were using it daily.
In March, an investigation was carried out by Motherboard regarding Zoom’s privacy and security. It was found that the Zoom’s app for iPhone and iPads was sending user device data to Facebook even if they didn’t have any Facebook accounts. A former employee of NSA then found a security issue with Zoom that enabled bad actors to take control of microphones and webcams of the users thus leading to control of Apple iMacs. It was also found that the Zoom calls were not being encrypted as per the Zoom official specs. Furthermore, the offices of 27 attorneys general have raised concerns about the company.
Google is not the only company that has banned Zoom. Earlier in April, SpaceX also banned Zoom use and said that significant privacy and security concerns were the reason behind the decision. Zoom’s CEO Yuan writes in a blog post, ‘We recognize that we have fallen short of the community’s — and our own — privacy and security expectations. For that, I am deeply sorry.’