Zoom said on Thursday that it had made “significant” progress in defining the framework and approach for its first transparency report and that it planned to release it later this year. The transparency report will offer insights on all the governmental requests for user data, records, or content (of Zoom calls or meetings) that Zoom has received so far. CEO Eric Yuan made the announcement in a blog post marking the commencement of Zoom’s 90-day feature freeze period, wherein the San Jose headquartered company focused all its resources on strengthening its privacy and security standards.
The transparency part becomes relevant especially after Zoom acknowledged that it had been open to impacting user accounts outside of mainland China (which means, virtually anybody) at the behest of the Chinese government until very recently.
Several Hong Kong and US-based activists commemorating the Tiananmen Square massacre through virtual gatherings on Zoom had claimed their accounts were suspended, allegedly at China’s “request.” Turns out, Zoom had indeed acted upon China’s assertion that these public gatherings were illegal and terminated the events and hosts’ accounts. Zoom did not take requests from the Chinese government to impact user accounts outside of mainland China anymore, it had said in its “acknowledgement” blog.
Instead, Zoom is now working on a feature that will allow it to remove or block users based on geography, so the company can comply with requests from local authorities to crack down on any illegal activity within their borders. Zoom said it will “protect these conversations for participants outside of those borders where the activity is allowed.”
The transparency report will help users know exactly what information was shared with the governments, and exactly what information governments have on users of Zoom around the world including in India.
This is just one aspect though. July 1 also marks an important chapter in Zoom’s controversy-ridden history. The Zoom CEO said in the same blog post that the company had rolled out over 100 privacy and security measures in the 90 day period including enhanced encryption (via Zoom 5.0) to better protect its users from prying eyes. Moreover, Zoom is also working to bring end-to-end encryption for all users (free and paying) in the days to come.