In a preliminary lawsuit settlement filed Saturday afternoon, Zoom Video Communications agreed to pay $85 million. The settlement follows a class action lawsuit filed by users who were concerned that the company had shared personal data with Facebook (FB), Google, and LinkedIn, as well as instances of “zoombombing,” which occurs when an unwanted hacker joins a call.
In March 2020, the FBI issued a warning against “zoombombing,” citing examples of users shouting profanities and sharing pornography in meetings or virtual classrooms. The FBI has urged victims of “teleconference hijacking” to contact them and report any incidents.
According to the settlement documents, the video conferencing company has agreed to more than a dozen “major changes to its practices, designed to improve meeting security, bolster privacy disclosures, and safeguard consumer data.”
“In-meeting notifications to make it easier for users to understand who can see, save, and share Zoom users’ information,” as well as “alerting users when a meeting host or another participant uses a third-party application during a meeting,” are expected to be among the changes.
“Our users’ privacy and security are top priorities for Zoom, and we take seriously the trust they place in us,” a Zoom spokesperson told CNN Business. “We are proud of the advancements we have made to our platform, and look forward to continuing to innovate with privacy and security at the forefront,” the spokesperson added.
According to the settlement, paid subscribers in the class action lawsuit are eligible for 15 percent refunds on their Zoom core subscriptions, or $25, whichever is greater, and other Zoom users may be eligible for up to $15.
After allowing the plaintiffs to pursue some contract-based claims on March 11, Koh reached a settlement on Saturday.
Despite the fact that Zoom received approximately $1.3 billion (roughly Rs. 9,670 crores) in Zoom Meetings subscriptions from class action participants/ members, the plaintiffs’ lawyers deemed the $85 million (roughly Rs. 630 crores) settlement reasonable in light of the litigation risks. They plan to seek legal fees of up to $21.25 million (roughly Rs. 160 crores).
Under Section 230 of the federal Communications Decency Act, which protects online platforms from liability over user content, Koh said Zoom was “mostly” immune from Zoombombing.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic forced more people to work from home, Zoom’s customer base has grown sixfold.