On November 9, 2020 the FTC entered into a consent agreement with Zoom Video Communications, Inc. to address concerns over the videoconferencing platform’s security practices. With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the need for a reliable, online videoconferencing and meeting platform skyrocketed. Zoom met that need. It advertised its platform as a secure space with various safety measures to protect user data, including “end-to-end” 256-bit encryption. In short order, individuals, businesses, and organizations quickly flocked to the user-friendly communications platform; and, by the end of April 2020 Zoom’s user base was booming.
Then came a backlash of sorts. The FTC began investigating Zoom’s security practices, and private plaintiffs brought class-action lawsuits alleging violations of the California Consumer Privacy Act and failure to adhere to Zoom’s terms of service. The FTC’s complaint alleged several concerns with Zoom’s advertising and security promises, concluding that Zoom made misleading claims about the strength of its encryption and security of its platform that gave customers a false sense of security. The five-count complaint alleged that Zoom: