The New York City Department of Education has reportedly banned the use of the video conferencing app Zoom over privacy concerns for students and teachers.
Business Insider reports that New York City teachers have been banned from using the video conferencing app Zoom for virtual teaching as the Department of Education cites security and privacy concerns. Schools have been instructed instead to use Microsoft Teams which the department has begun training teachers and staff to use.
On April 4, Department of Education Chancellor Richard Carranza announced that due to security and privacy issues, schools were to cease delivering lessons via Zoom “as soon as possible,” according to a memo reported by Chalkbeat.
Breitbart News recently reported that the CEO of the video conferencing company apologized in a blog post over the various security issues that its 200 million daily users are facing on the platform. CEO Eric Yuan announced a number of measures that the company is taking to make the app more secure as millions of Americans use the app to work and study from home. Breitbart News covered the criticism of the company over its lack of action on “Zoom bombing” last week.
Zoom’s usage has exploded since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic in January as many worldwide are forced to work or attend school from home, using the app for group meetings and online classes. In the blog post, Yuan stated that usage had increased by 1,900 percent with 200 million daily free and paying users in March up from 10 million at the end of December.
However, as Breitbart News has reported, the increased usage has also attracted online hackers and trolls. Hijacking zoom meetings to disrupt business and schoolwork has gained the nickname “Zoom bombing” on the Internet. It was also recently reported that some Zoom calls were being routed through China.
However, many teachers are not happy with switching to Microsoft Teams, arguing that it is less efficient than Zoom. One Brooklyn principal told Chalkbeat: “If the DOE follows through with this decision, I believe that the impact will be no more live teaching for many teachers. I am not sure that the DOE and the mayor fully understand the impact of decisions like this.”