U.S. Senate, Google ban Zoom days after its launch of 'security council'

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Following two weeks of escalating privacy and security concerns about video conferencing platform Zoom, the U.S. Senate and Google have both banned its members and employees from using the software.

Zoom has become a popular platform due to widespread coronavirus work-from-home policies, but it's been beset by multiple security and privacy blunders since its boom in usage.

Because of those concerns, various government entities, private corporations and public organizations have banned its members from using the app — including both Google and at least one chamber of the U.S. Congress.

Ars Technica reports that the Senate sergeant-at-arms has warned senators against using the service. On Wednesday, Google also issued a ban on Zoom for employees, according to BuzzFeed News.

Both bans come just a few days after schools in New York City's Department of Education barred teachers from using the app to teach students remotely. The FBI warned Americans last month of a practice called "Zoombombing," which entails hijacking of video conferences by uninvited guests.

Zoom said in a statement that it is now "working around-the-clock to ensure that universities, schools, and other businesses around the world can stay connected and operational during this pandemic."

As part of its attempts to regain user trust, the platform has recently created a new security advisory council headed by former Facebook chief security officer Alex Stamos.

In March, a Motherboard investigation found that Zoom for iOS app was sending data to Facebook analytics without explicitly outlining the practice — and even if a user didn't have an account. Zoom eventually removed that "feature."

The conferencing app has also had trouble with a "shady" malware-like installation process, misleadings claim about end-to-end encryption, and several local security vulnerabilities.

In the wake of those discoveries, the video conferencing app has paused development to focus on patching its security and privacy issues.

As a result of Zoom's flaws, a class-action lawsuit has been levied against Zoom in California for its handling of user data. The state of New York has also launched a probe into the company's privacy and security policies.

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