Zoom is a free and subscription-based video communications cloud platform for video and audio conferencing, chat, and webinars across mobile, desktop, and room systems. There has been a significant surge in demand for Zoom's video conferencing service over the past few months, given the concerns and restrictions associated with the coronavirus pandemic. For more resources about quality educational applications and services to use with your kids at home and students in the classroom, check out our Resources for Educators During the Coronavirus Pandemic and our Resources for Families During the Coronavirus Pandemic.
Millions of Americans for the first time are now working from home and taking classes online using video conferencing software to stay connected. For many, Zoom provides a critical service with features that allow them to stay connected to their jobs, co-workers, classmates, families, and friends. However, there are also risks to your personal information that come with using a communication technology like Zoom, so you'll want to understand how the privacy risks and harms of sharing your personal information, and the information of your kids and students, will affect you and them.
The Common Sense Privacy Program evaluates the policies of popular consumer and education technology applications and services that are currently used by millions of students in the classroom and by kids at home. We will publish our privacy evaluation of Zoom after we have given Zoom the opportunity to review and comment, which is our standard practice when publishing new ratings. We keep track of the policy changes of popular applications and services to help parents and educators understand a product's privacy practices and make an informed decision on whether to use the product.
Changes from February to early March
- Student data: Zoom added a new section about "School Subscribers" in response to school and district demand to better protect K-12 student data privacy rights.
- CCPA: Zoom also added a new section on how you can request that Zoom not sell your data to third parties for profit under the new California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA). For more resources on how you can exercise your privacy rights and request that companies not sell your personal information, check out our Do Not Sell resources.
Changes in late March
- Sell data: Zoom says it will not sell data.
- Monitor content: Zoom says it will not monitor video meetings and provides users with a better expectation of privacy around what information user hosts can see.
- Reasonable security: Zoom says it uses reasonable security to protect user accounts.
- Collection limitation: Zoom says it limits the collection of personal information from users to only what is needed to provide its service.
- Targeted ads: Zooms says it can still display targeted ads to users but says it does not use data from a user's Zoom video sessions to display ads, only a user's visits to any Zoom marketing or third-party product websites.
- Child data: Zoom says it's in compliance with COPPA and protects personal information collected from children under 13.
- Attention tracking feature: Zoom describes a new feature that puts a clock icon next to a participant's name to indicate to the host when Zoom is not the active window on the participant's computer for more than 30 seconds.
What's next for Zoom?