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  • Meerelle Cruz

Zoom reaches $85 mln settlement over user privacy, 'Zoombombing'

To settle a lawsuit alleging that it violated users' privacy rights by sharing personal data with Facebook, Google, and LinkedIn, as well as allowing hackers to disrupt Zoom meetings in a practice known as Zoombombing, Zoom Video Communications Inc (ZM.O) agreed to pay $85 million and strengthen its security practices.

U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh in San Jose, California, must approve a preliminary settlement submitted on Saturday afternoon. Subscribers in the proposed class action could get a 15% refund on their basic memberships or $25, whichever is greater, while others could get up to $15.

Zoom is committed to taking security steps such as notifying users when meeting hosts or other participants use third-party apps in meetings, as well as providing specialized privacy and data handling staff training. In agreeing to settle, the San Jose-based business denied any wrongdoing.

"The privacy and security of our users are a top priority for Zoom," the company said in a statement on Sunday. "We take seriously the trust our users invest in us." After allowing the plaintiffs to pursue some contract-based claims on March 11, Koh settled on Saturday.

Even though class members paid Zoom $1.3 billion in Zoom Meetings subscriptions, the plaintiffs' lawyers said the $85 million settlement was appropriate given the lawsuit risks. They plan to seek legal fees of up to $21.25 million.

Outsiders who hijack Zoom meetings and exhibit pornography, use racist language, or upload other offensive content are known as Zoombombing. Under Section 230 of the federal Communications Decency Act, which protects web platforms from responsibility for user content, Koh found Zoom was "largely" immune from Zoombombing.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic caused more people to work from home, Zoom's user base has grown sixfold. In April 2021, the company had 497,000 customers with more than ten employees, compared to 81,900 in January 2020. It has been stated that when more individuals obtain immunizations and return to work or school in person, user growth may moderate or decline

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