Looks like the trouble for highly popular video conferencing app Zoom is far from over. After facing enough of criticism which has resulted in companies banning it in various countries, Zoom app has come under the lens of the Indian government.
In the latest directive the government of India has issued an advisory for people to refrain from using Zoom app for video conferencing. A two-page long advisory, issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs, warns Zoom app users in India against any possible hacking, data breach or privacy issues.
Tagging the Zoom app as unsafe, the Indian government has listed out few precautionary steps for individuals who are actively using Zoom app in India. Interestingly, the advisory is meant for the private individual as well as government officials who actively use video conference facility using the Zoom app to discuss sensitive and important matters.
The government, however, has issued guidelines to have safe video conferencing experience while using the Zoom app. Such measures are effective in blocking attempts to unauthorised access in the conference room. It is also helpful in preventing any malicious activity by authorised participants on terminals of the other participants.
“Most of the settings can be done by login into users zoom account at website, or installed application at PC/Laptop/Phone and also during conduct of conference. However certain settings are possible through certain mode/channel only,” the guidelines from the Union home ministry read.
The steps Indian government has advised Zoom users in India are:
- Set new user ID and password for each meeting
- Enable meeting room
- Disable join before host
- Allow screen sharing by host only
- Disable allow removed participants to re-join
- Restrict or disable file transfer option
- Lock meeting once all attendees have joined
- Restrict the recording feature
- End meeting (and not just leave, if you are the administrator)
Zoom App: In Hot Water
India is not the only country that has expressed its privacy concerns when using the Zoom app. Many other government bodies in other countries including US Senate, German foreign ministry have also either warned its users or banned zoom app.
The damages for Zoom app is not just limited to warnings by the government officials; leading companies like Google, Space X and a lot many others have also restricted their employees to access Zoom app from the office network.
Besides many privacy issues, the biggest concern about the Zoom app is the location of its servers. Just like TikTok, Zoom has got its servers located in China and authorities are sceptical about information the app must be saving on those servers.
The sudden rise and fall of the Zoom app amid the Coronavirus outbreak globally is no less than an interesting case study to read. As employees are confined into their houses working from home, the video conferencing app Zoom became shot to fame in just two months. The valuation soared to all-time high and stock prices went by by 250% in just a month. This attracted the eyeballs of watchdogs of the industry who found serious privacy issued with the app.
Just last week, taking a cue from the rising popularity of Zoom app, the Minister of Law & Justice, Mr. Ravi Shankar Prasad requested Indian startups and entrepreneurs to develop a homegrown video conferencing app.