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The rise of the COVID-19 pandemic caused schools across the nation to shut down entirely, sending their students back to their hometowns to learn remotely. In person classes were exchanged for online Zoom meetings, where one saw faces in tiny squares across the screen. Zoom took off as its features were easy to use, making logging onto class a seamless transition, yet there was a downside as it invaded privacy.
Administrators running Zoom meetings control turning the camera/audio on, looking into chat logs, and other data as well. In The Dartmouth article, “Zoom Usage Raises Questions About Student Data, Security”, the Dean of Undergraduate Education in the Thayer School of Engineering discusses “Big Brother mode” which allows professors, or anyone running Zoom, to see which individuals kept their audio/video on and even if the students have the app open on their computer. This raises concerns about privacy, leaving people wondering how much authoritative control should be allowed with the platform.
As can be read in Business Insider, “Is that actually a Fourth Amendment violation of warrantless search and seizure because you didn’t invite them in your home, yet your kid is getting suspended or police are being called because of something that was seen on Zoom” (Business Insider). This is a dangerous precedent which allows schools to monitor students without their permission. Furthermore, “Zoom was sued in April over accusations that it was sharing data with Facebook without telling users. Two families sued Google over suspicions that it collected their children’s biometric data” (Business Insider).
In addition, hackers across the world have used this opportunity to invade meetings, in what is called “Zoom bombings.” Oftentimes, it’s harmless interruptions, which cause some chaos, but other times it is targeted hate speech. Zoom already has protective measures to prevent “Zoom bombings” but hackers have gone further to find vulnerabilities, or weak spots, within the platform to break through those barriers. These weaknesses in privacy created a digital disruption that Zoom had to transform from having little oversight and understanding, to providing a secure and safe place for school and work.