Curated News Articles from around the web:

Google hit with nearly $1m privacy fine in Belgium

Jul 15, 2020

Record fine meted out over person's right to be forgotten.

Google has received a record fine from Belgium's data protection authority (APD) of 600,000 euros (A$979,000) for not complying with European rules on a person's "right to be forgotten" online.


Zoom responds to privacy backlash by giving all its users end-to-end encryption

June 19, 2020

Zoom's rapid ascent this year has brought with it the scrutiny that most fast-growing tech companies face — mostly in the form of a series of privacy and security concerns. It's now taking a big step towards damage control.

The hugely popular video conferencing platform will begin rolling out end-to-end encryption in beta mode to its users next month, it said Wednesday, backtracking on a controversial plan to offer the heightened security feature only to paying customers.

End-to-end encryption is considered one of the most private ways to communicate online and allows users to have secure conversations without anyone — including the platform they're speaking on — having access to the data.

Privacy concerns have dogged Zoom since late March, when the company acknowledged its video meetings did not have end-to-end encryption despite marketing material indicating it did.

Zoom responded by freezing all new features for 90 days to work on security issues and acquiring secure messaging firm Keybase to help shore up its encryption capabilities.

And offering end-to-end encryption to all its users has become even more important for Zoom, which was built as a remote workplace tool but is suddenly being used for private events such as birthdays, funerals, government meetings and activist gatherings.


Hackers interrupt women of influence Zoom with ‘horrible words, horrible visuals'

June 18, 2020

AVENTURA, Fla. – The flyer says it was supposed to be a Zoom conversation with women of influence.

People like the CEO of Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital and the president and COO of OneUnited Bank.

It was 40 minutes into the conversation when random images started popping up, like a message that read, “From President Trump to everyone: God Bless White America.”

“You hear about it. You just don’t think it’s really going to happen to you or you don’t think it’s going to be that bad,” says Elaine Adler, president of the Aventura Marketing Council & Chamber, which was hosting. “Just horrible words. Horrible visuals. It got to the point it was had just really crossed the line.”

It’s a trend called Zoombombing that has grown in prominence since the online video conferencing platform has become ubiquitous during the coronavirus pandemic.


New York City bans Zoom in schools, citing security concerns

April 5, 2020

As schools lie empty, students still have to learn. But officials in New York City say schools are not permitted to use Zoom for remote teaching, citing security concerns with the video conferencing service.

“Providing a safe and secure remote learning experience for our students is essential, and upon further review of security concerns, schools should move away from using Zoom as soon as possible,” said Danielle Filson, a spokesperson for the New York City Dept. of Education. “There are many new components to remote learning, and we are making real-time decisions in the best interest of our staff and students.”


Zoom isn’t actually end-to-end encrypted

March 31, 2020

Zoom can still access your video meetings

Zoom states on its website and in its security white paper that it supports end-to-end encryption for its meetings. But new research from The Intercept reveals that’s not exactly true.

“It is not possible to enable E2E encryption for Zoom video meetings,” said a Zoom spokesperson in a statement to The Intercept, after the publication revealed Zoom is actually using transport encryption rather than end-to-end encryption.


Zoom is leaking some user information because of an issue with how the app groups contacts

March 31, 2020

Another security issue for Zoom

Zoom is apparently leaking some email addresses, user photos, and allowing some users to initiate a video call with strangers because of an issue with how the app handles contacts that it perceives work for the same organization, according to a report by Vice.

Typically, Zoom will group contacts with the same email domain into a “Company Directory” so you can, for example, search for a specific person, see their photo and email, and start a video call with that person. That makes sense for a company with employees on Zoom, but the app has also been grouping some people together who signed up for the service with a personal email, reports Vice. That means an affected user might be able to see the personal email addresses and photos of people with their same domain in their Company Directory, even if none of those people are actually colleagues.


Zoom Tightens Privacy Policy, Says No User Videos Are Analyzed for Ads

March 30, 2020

The videoconferencing company says it's making privacy improvements after reporting by Consumer Reports and others

Zoom has rewritten parts of its privacy policy after Consumer Reports highlighted concerns by users and privacy experts about the service.

The teleconferencing platform has exploded in popularity during the coronavirus epidemic, as a way for businesses, schools, clubs, and friends to stay in touch.

Zoom's new privacy policy now states that so-called "Customer Content" can't be used for advertising purposes, that video is only retained at the user's request, and that it's not accessed by the company.

The revised document also explains in more detail what kind of consumer data Zoom does collect, such as phone numbers and user names.

This is the second change Zoom has made in the past few days to improve user privacy. The company also said it was updating its iOS app to stop sharing data with Facebook after the publication of a Motherboard investigation last week.

In addition, Zoom told Consumer Reports that it would stop retweeting Zoom screen captures posted by teachers that included images of students.

(If you're a teacher, don't do that.)