Zoom Hit With Class Action Privacy Suit this Week
In London, bankers have learned to win stock offerings by video chat. In New York, lawyers are conducting depositions with the use of video conferencing, and across the globe 8th graders are working on class projects from their living rooms with mobile collaboration. One of the tech companies that is making all this possible is Zoom Video Communication — and in all likelihood, many reading this post are more familiar with Zoom today than they were a month ago, in light of COVID-19 restrictions and the need for remote capabilities. The ubiquitous video conferencing platform provides remote conferencing services, online meetings, and mobile collaboration. Zoom helps us all connect, share content, and even close deals, especially in times like these, when the proverbial handshake is prohibited.
Earlier this week Robert Cullen, a user of video-conferencing software Zoom, filed a class action lawsuit against the company in Federal Court in the Northern District of California. Mr. Cullen alleged in his complaint that Zoom failed to properly safeguard the personal information of the millions of users of their software applications and video conferencing platform. Specifically, the complaint states that Zoom collects the personal information of its users and discloses, without adequate notice of authorization, this personal information to third parties, including Facebook, resulting in the invasion of privacy of millions of users. Moreover, Cullen alleges that Zoom was negligent, and that it breached its duties by failing to implement and maintain a reasonable security projections and protocols, and knowingly disclosing user’s personal information to third parties.
The lawsuit includes claims for negligence, unjust enrichment, invasion of privacy under California’s constitution and violations of California’s Consumer Privacy Act, Unfair Competition Law and Consumers Legal Remedies Act. It seeks unspecified money damages on behalf of a proposed class of similarly situated consumers nationwide. To make matters worse, on the same day the suit was filed, New York Attorney General, Letitia James, had sent Zoom a letter with questions about its data privacy practices and about what security measures it had put in place to deal with the threat of hackers. Zoom responded by sending out a press release and updating their privacy policies to show that they are committed to protect users’ privacy.
The Zoom suit reveals the vital importance of cybersecurity’s role for both insureds and insurers. Companies need to create plans tailored to their organization in order to keep business operations running while considering security and making sure that all of their employees have secured network access.
We can expect a myriad of these suits over the course of the next weeks, and despite how long the global pandemic may last, one thing is for certain – the way we conduct business will never be the same. We are now becoming more dependent on these apps than ever before, and zealously washing our hands multiple times a day will not be our only concerns for the months to come.
Thanks to James Papadakis for his contribution to this post. Please email Heather Aquino with any questions.