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Coronavirus In Texas: Zoom Privacy And Security Issues Under Scrutiny

NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) - A popular video conferencing program is facing scrutiny about its privacy practices.

Forced to work from home, millions of Americans have turned to Zoom for everyday activities.

Keller ATA Martial Arts moved its classes online last month. Owner Mary Johannesen teaches between eight and ten classes per day. Most of her students are children.

That's why Johannesen said she takes zero chances.

"It's definitely a learning curve trying to figure out how to use Zoom, how to admit people to a waiting room," Johannesen said.

Zoom has become a daily fixture for everyone from teachers to journalists. This very story was shot using Zoom.

But the company is now fielding questions about how it handles user data, as well as the software's security features.

"We do not sell your personal data," reads Zoom's privacy policy, posted on March 29. "Whether you are a business or a school or an individual user, we do not sell your data."

But that fact does not stop the company from analyzing users' data in some fashion, according to Shawn Tuma, a cybersecurity attorney with Spencer Fane LLP in Plano.

"We as consumers now have to know that if we're being given a free service, we are a product of that service," Tuma said.

Tuma has written a blog post about to adjust privacy settings on Zoom meetings.

Some tips include never sharing meeting IDs publicly and disabling the "file transfer" feature.

Zoom's policy claims it collects only the user data that is required to provide services, such as an IP address and device details.

An investigation by Motherboard found Zoom allegedly shared user data with Facebook, prompting the company to end the practice a day later.

A California man also filed a lawsuit against Zoom for sharing customers' information with Facebook without providing notice<.

The FBI <> has even issued a warning over a rise in "Zoom bombing" incidents in which hackers disrupt meetings with profanities or pornography.

In a YouTube video, Zoom announced it is now addressing some security flaws by automatically enabling waiting rooms, which allow the host to choose who can join a meeting, and by inserting password protections into invites.

Johannesen said to increase security for her students, she disables screen sharing, only accepts usernames she recognizes and locks the meeting to outsiders.

"The kids are very important to me and protecting them is of the utmost importance," Johannesen said.

A spokesperson for Zoom did not return our requests for a Zoom interview by deadline. In an email, the spokesperson cited an increased workload involving customer support.

"We are going into our quiet period in a few days and are completely booked out between now and then," wrote Amie Dehner. "PLEASE do check back with us in June or so."

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