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Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Taiwan joins Canada in banning Zoom for government video conferencing

Taiwan joins Canada in banning Zoom for government video conferencing

Zoom's daily users ballooned to more than 200 million in March

Taiwan's cabinet has told government agencies to stop using Zoom Video Communications Inc.'s video conferencing app, the latest blow to the company as it battles criticism of its booming platform over privacy and security.

Zoom's daily users ballooned to more than 200 million in March, as coronavirus-induced shutdowns forced employees to work from home and schools switched to the company's free app for conducting and co-ordinating online classes.

However, the company is facing a backlash from users worried about the lack of end-to-end encryption of meeting sessions and "Zoom-bombing," where uninvited guests crash meetings.

Banned in schools

If government agencies must hold video conferencing, they "should not use products with security concerns, like Zoom," Taiwan's cabinet said in a statement on Tuesday. It did not elaborate on what the security concerns were.

The island's education ministry later said it was banning the use of Zoom in schools.

Zoom did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

"The security aspects of Zoom have not been assessed by the Canadian Centre for Cyber Security (Cyber Centre), and it has not been approved for any government discussions that require secure communications," Ryan Foreman, a spokesperson for the Communications Security Establishment, Canada's electronic surveillance agency, said last week.

Some U.S. schools districts are looking at putting limits on the use of Zoom after an FBI warning last month.

Zoom chief executive officer Eric Yuan last week apologized to users, saying the company had fallen short of the community's privacy and security expectations, and was taking steps to fix the issues.

Zoom competes with Microsoft's Teams, Cisco's Webex and Google's Hangouts.

Taiwan's cabinet said domestically-made conferencing apps were preferred, but if needed products from Google and Microsoft could also be considered.

Zoom's shares dipped one per cent in premarket trading on the Nasdaq. They have lost nearly a third of their market value since touching record highs late March.

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