Sat, 18 Sep 2021

SAN JOSE, California: Zoom Video Communications has agreed to pay $85 million, along with improving its security, as a settlement in a lawsuit claiming it violated users' privacy rights by sharing personal data with Facebook, Google and LinkedIn.

The suit also sought damages, claiming Zoom allowed hackers to disrupt Zoom meetings, in a practice called Zoombombing.

As part of the settlement, subscribers could be entitled to 15 percent refunds on their subscriptions or $25, whichever is larger, while others could receive up to $15.

Zoom agreed to increase security measures to prevent future hacking into customer meetings.

Zoom, however, denied wrongdoing while agreeing to settle.

"The privacy and security of our users are top priorities for Zoom, and we take seriously the trust our users place in us," Zoom said in a statement.

Court records indicate that Zoom billed customers $1.3 billion in Zoom Meetings subscriptions during the Covid pandemic. Lawyers representing customers called the $85 million settlement reasonable. The bill for legal fees will reach up to $21.25 million.

Zoombombing occurs when outsiders hijack Zoom meetings and display disturbing content.

Zoom's customer base grew six times after the COVID-19 pandemic forced increasingly greater numbers of people to work from home.

Zoom had 497,000 customers with more than 10 employees in April 2021, compared to 81,900 in January 2020. In court, the company noted that its user growth could slow or decline as more people become vaccinated and return to work or school.

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