High-Flying Zoom Faces Privacy Suit Claiming It Fails to Protect User Data

By | March 31, 2020

Zoom Video Communications, which has seen its stock zoom by 115% since January, is being sued by a Sacramento user who claims the service unlawfully discloses users’ personal information.

The video service has enjoyed a surge in downloads of its app and use of it services as people around the world are staying and working at home in the fight against the coronavirus.

Robert Cullen is seeking to represent a class of users harmed by Zoom’s alleged failure to protect users’ information. The complaint claims that Zoom’s “wholly inadequate program design and security measures have resulted, and will continue to result, in unauthorized disclosure of its users’ personal information” to third parties including Facebook.

It says Zoom’s privacy policy on its website “purports to identify and disclose to its users all the information Zoom collects” but that it does not disclose what information it shares with Facebook.

Among the user information allegedly disclosed are the user’s computer model, time zone and city, phone service and a “unique advertiser identifier” that companies can use to target marketing to the user.

The complaint cites a report in the tech publication Motherboard that it says first exposed how Zoom’s app was sharing data with Facebook. That publication reported on March 27 that Zoom has removed the code that was sending data to Facebook. Zoom told Motherboard it was only recently made aware that the Facebook feature was collecting unnecessary device data.

The lawsuit is being brought under three California statutes: the state’s new Privacy Act, Unfair Competition Law and Consumers Legal Remedies Act. It further alleges negligence, unjust enrichment and a violation of the privacy provision of the California constitution. It seeks punitive and statutory damages plus equitable relief and attorney costs.

The New York Times reported that the New York attorney general is also looking into Zoom for its data privacy and security practices.

The case is Cullen v. Zoom Video Communications, No. 20-cv-02155, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California (San Jose).

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