After many schools adopted Zoom to conduct online lessons during lockdown coronavirus, concerns about security and privacy have led to a ban on the video conferencing software across the US.
Chancellor of the New York City Department of Education Richard A. Carranza send an email to the school principal told them to “stop using the Zoom as soon as possible”. And he is not alone; schools in other parts of the country have taken similar action, and educators are now being trained to use the Microsoft team because it has been suggested as an appropriate alternative, in part due to complying with FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act).
A large number of teachers spend time learning how to use the Zoom to continue to educate students who were confined to their homes. But the growing criticism Zoom to approach to privacy and security has given a reason to rethink. Documents seen by Chalkbeat indicate that the principal in NYC has been told: “Based on a review of their concerns documented DOE, DOE will no longer allow the use of Zoom at this time”.
The Washington Post quoted Danielle Filson, spokesman for the NYC Department of Education, which says:
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. There are many new components to remote learning, and we are making real-time decisions in the best interest of our staff and student. We will support staff and students in transitioning to different platforms such as Microsoft Teams that have the same capabilities with appropriate security measures in place.
The Post also reported that the School Clark County Public in Nevada is also moving away from Zoom, said in a statement that the decision was taken to “disable access to the Collapse of an abundance of caution due to a case of hacking that creates an unsafe environment for teachers and students”,
Schools in Utah, Washington state and outside are also looking for alternatives Zoom.
Over the past few weeks, Zoom has been struggling against bad press following a lot of problems with privacy and security. The company has introduced changes to address some of the issues that have been raised and have stopped the development of new features while concentrating on fixing weaknesses. Taking to Twitter this weekend, Zoom tries to convince people of security products:
Zoom is safe to use for both you personally and businesses, but you should read through on how to best protect yourself and your company … https://t.co/c3bIuBNm13 by @0xAmit
— Zoom (@zoom_us) April 4, 2020
The company also issued a statement, saying:
Zoom takes user privacy, security, and trust extremely seriously. Zoom was originally developed for enterprise use, and has been confidently selected for complete deployment by a large number of institutions globally, following security reviews of our user, network and datacenter layers. During the COVID-19 pandemic, we are working around-the-clock to ensure that hospitals, universities, schools, and other organizations across the world can stay connected and operational. As more and new kinds of users start using Zoom during this time, Zoom has been proactively engaging to make sure they understand Zoom’s relevant policies, as well as the best ways to use the platform and protect their meetings. We have encouraged our education users in particular to follow the guidance contained here: https://blog.zoom.us/wordpress/2020/03/27/best-practices-for-securing-your-virtual-classroom/ — and we recently updated the default settings for education users enrolled in our K-12 program to enable waiting rooms and ensure teachers are the only ones who can share content in class by default. We are proud of the role we are playing during this challenging time and committed to providing educators and other users with the tools they need.
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