The Golden Days with Zoom
The Great Zoom Boom—and the CrashWhen COVID-19 hit right before my daughter’s fourteenth birthday, I again felt proud to be an early Zoom adopter. We set up a Zoom birthday party, and I enjoyed a brief shining moment of feeling like I was ahead of a cultural moment—always a good feeling for a 40-year-old mother of a teenager and a pre-teen. The New York Times confirmed that “We Live in Zoom Now”, and I was happy that at least one part of my life would continue on as normal in the age of coronavirus and social distancing. But then, by the time I filed the March 27th Intellectual Freedom News, I read an early article about “Zoombombing,” a new form of trolling in which intruders joined Zoom meetings and shared racist, sexist, and otherwise oppressive or unwanted content. That was followed by articles in the April 3rd IF News about the New York attorney general’s investigation into Zoom and Zoom’s early promises to increase privacy after reports by Consumer Reports. By April 10th, we had a mini Zoom section in the IF News, including articles about schools banning Zoom, U.S. Senators being told to avoid Zoom, broader concerns about protecting student privacy during online learning, and tips for keeping your Zoom chats safe. The situation has continued to deteriorate, as hate-mongering Zoombombers increased their efforts and hacked Zoom accounts were sold on the dark web. Zoom hasn’t been shy about admitting their mistakes, the CEO’s public apology was covered widely, and they are making small steps like allowing paying customers to choose to avoid having their data routed through China. However, Zoom continues to face critiques for their lack of end-to-end encryption, and many experts encourage people to try other video conferencing tools with tighter security.
Option A: Tighten Zoom Security Settings
Option B: Choose Privacy Over Familiarity and Ease of UseHowever, for some Zoomers, increasing security might not be enough. If you’re more serious about privacy than I am (e.g., if you know why end-to-end encryption is important, with more nuance than my general sense that it’s a feature used by spies in the movies), you might want to check out these alternatives:
- Zoom Alternatives: 5 options for people who care about security and privacy | Forbes
- 6 Popular Video Conferencing Tools Compared | Wired
- Ditching Zoom? Here are 10 video chat alternatives you can use instead | Time
- Worried about Zoom’s privacy problems? A guide to your video-conferencing options | The Guardian