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Schools Ban Zoom Video Classes in USA Due to Privacy Issues, Should India Do it Too?

Martin Vernaza, 8, studies at home after school closes during the mandatory isolation decreed by the Colombian government as a preventive measure against the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Bogota, Colombia. (Image: Reuters)

Martin Vernaza, 8, studies at home after school closes during the mandatory isolation decreed by the Colombian government as a preventive measure against the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Bogota, Colombia. (Image: Reuters)

The New York City Department of Education has asked teachers to shift to Microsoft Teams due to security issues with Zoom.

  • News18.com
  • Last Updated: April 9, 2020, 3:33 PM IST
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Schools in USA are being actively urged to not use Zoom for online video lessons, and instead switch to Microsoft Teams in light of the former's soaring privacy issues. A report by The Washington Post states that the New York City Department of Education has urged schools to follow the same directive, since many online classes attended by students across America were recently breached, causing untoward issues of racism and other forms of online abuses.

Earlier last week, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) had issued a public warning against the "hijacking" of online video conferences. With lockdown protocol put in place across the world due to the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, schools across USA and the rest of the world have been shut down, exams have been postponed, and all of this has led to the initiation of online classes through video conferencing.

It is Zoom that succeeded in getting an early share of the suddenly increasing demand for online video conferencing. By offering a free service that allowed for live video conferencing with up to 50 participants as well as screen sharing, Zoom saw an unprecedented rise in the number of users of its service. However, soon enough, its myriad privacy issues started coming to light. With the drastic escalation of privacy issues, it appeared that Zoom did not just have one or two, but an ever-increasing number of security issues.

This led to Zoom attempting to justify the reason behind its security concerns, and go on overdrive mode to attempt to get the situation under control. However, instances of zoombombing, coupled with a wide range of other security problems, have continued to rise for the service, as a result of which schools in USA are now being advised against using the service. More established and secure services, such as Microsoft Teams or Google Hangouts, are being recommended as the best alternatives keeping security in mind.

Going forward, it remains to be seen how schools in India react to the situation. While Indian organisations have typically been slow to react to online privacy and data security concerns, it remains to be seen how schools in the country act on the regularly evolving times.

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