The Taiwan cabinet has asked its government agencies to stop using Zoom Video Communications Inc’s conferencing app and other video software “associated security or privacy concerns”. An advisory was issued by the Taiwan government on Tuesday proscribing the country’s government agencies from using Zoom while urging the usage of alternative apps from Google and Microsoft.
Several organisations across the globe have been using the services of Zoom to hold meetings as the coronavirus pandemic has rendered much of the world paralysed and penned in their respective houses. However, the video conferencing app has also been under the fire lining of critics who have criticised it for its security and privacy issues.
Zoom’s daily user base shot up to more than 200 million in March as the lockdowns induced by coronavirus pandemic forced the employees and workers to switch to work from home.
The announcement to ban the use of Zoom by the Taiwanese government said, “The Executive Yuan’s Department of Cyber Security (DCS) today formally issued an advisory to all government organisations and specific non-government agencies that should it become operationally necessary to engage in video conferencing, the underlying video software to be used should not have associated security or privacy concerns, such as the Zoom video communication service.”
In addition, the DCS added that if it is absolutely vital for the organisation to use non-domestically produced software for international communication, then they should resort to more reliable options offered by the likes of Google and Microsoft, who are providing much more secure services for free amid the current pandemic. It suggested considering these options before evaluating the associated data security risks.
Besides Taiwan, the governments of other countries have also forbidden their agencies from using Zoom. The New York City officials have restricted the usage of Zoom by schools for remote teaching and Australia’s Defence forces and its MPs are barred from using the services provided by Zoom.
Acknowledging the security concerns with his services, Zoom founder and CEO Eric Yuan has apologised for the company’s privacy and security flaws and assured that they are looking into each and every one of them and addressing them as expeditiously as they can.
Soon after the usage of Zoom increased multifold in the wake of coronavirus lockdown in most part of the world, “ZoomBombing” became an issue as people started using the software’s screen-sharing feature to interrupt meeting with inappropriate content, including violent images and pornography. According to The Intercept, Zoom video calls are not end-to-end encrypted as the company claimed and are linked to China. A few days ago, Citizen Lab researchers discovered that some of the calls through the service were routed through China.