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Zoom Sued for Misleading Consumers on Data Security Practices (1)

Aug. 11, 2020, 4:21 PM; Updated: Aug. 11, 2020, 6:03 PM

Zoom Video Communications Inc. allegedly misrepresented the level of security used to protect communications on its platform, giving users “a false sense of security” and violating D.C.'s consumer protection law, according to a new lawsuit filed there.

Consumer Watchdog sued Zoom on behalf of users Monday in D.C. Superior Court under the district’s Consumer Protection Procedures Act, which prohibits false or deceptive advertising.

The video-conferencing platform has faced privacy and security scrutiny as its popularity has surged during the coronavirus pandemic. Zoom claimed at first that its platform can use end-to-end encryption, before correcting its terminology to say that the platform uses a lower level of encryption.

“Zoom only used the phrase ‘end-to-end encryption’ as a marketing device to lull consumers and businesses into a false sense of security,” the watchdog group’s complaint says.

The San Jose, Calif.-based company has since pledged to apply end-to-end encryption to all communications on its platform, following concerns over an initial plan to only offer it to paying customers.

Cause of Action: D.C.'s Consumer Protection Procedures Act

Relief: The complaint seeks damages and a court order prohibiting Zoom from misrepresenting its platform security.

Response: “We take privacy and security extremely seriously and are committed to continuous enhancements, including the timely beta testing and implementation of end-to-end encryption,” a Zoom spokesman said in response to the suit.

Attorneys: The consumer group is represented by Edelson PC.

The case is Consumer Watchdog v. Zoom Video Communications Inc., D.C. Super. Ct., No. 2020 CA 003516 B, 8/10/20.

(adds Zoom comment)

To contact the reporter on this story: Andrea Vittorio in Washington at avittorio@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Melissa B. Robinson at mrobinson@bloombergindustry.com; Keith Perine at kperine@bloombergindustry.com

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