Plea on Zoom App ban: SC seeks Centre's reply until appropriate legislation put in place

02:16 PM May 22, 2020 | PTI |
New Delhi The Supreme Court Friday sought response from the Centre on a plea which has sought a ban on the use of video communications app 'Zoom' for official as well as personal purposes until appropriate legislation is put in place. A bench headed by Chief Justice S A Bobde issued notice to the Centre on the plea which has raised privacy concerns and claimed that continued use of the Zoom app is "making the users vulnerable and prone to cyber threats". The matter came up for hearing through video-conferencing before the bench, also comprising Justices A S Bopanna and Hrishikesh Roy, which asked the Centre to file its reply within four weeks on the plea which has arrayed US-based Zoom Video Communications as one of the respondents in the case. The plea, filed by Delhi resident Harsh Chugh, has also sought a direction to the Centre to carry out an exhaustive technical study into the security and privacy risks of using Zoom application. The plea, filed through advocate Wajeeh Shafiq, has alleged that continued usage of this app might put the national security at stake and might also give a boom to the number of cyber-threats and cyber crimes in India. "The global COVID-19 pandemic has drastically reshaped the way in which consumers, businesses, and schools communicate. Rather than lending a hand to people in need, Zoom violates the privacy of its millions of users by misusing and exploiting their personal information and falsely, deceptively and misleadingly advertising fictitious security benefits of the program," the plea has said. It has alleged that the Zoom app "practices data hoarding and cyber hoarding" which includes mass storage of personal data of its users and stores cloud recordings, instant messages, and files. "Zoom is reported to have a bug that can be abused intentionally to leak information of users to third parties. The app has falsely claiming calls are end-to-end encrypted when they are not," the plea said while claiming that Zoom had also apologized publicly for "mistakenly routing traffic through China" where the internet is heavily monitored by the government. It has alleged that the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In), the nodal cybersecurity agency, has also warned Zoom users of cyber risks. The plea said that due to privacy and security concerns, several organizations across the world have banned the use of the Zoom app. Claiming that cyberspace risk is increasing every day due to global connectivity and online services which makes it easier to hack and access sensitive data of users, the plea said it is not that difficult to hack if a secure network is not used.

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