EDITORIAL: ZOOM teleconferencing

Recently, more and more criticism is being applied to ZOOM teleconferencing. Some may be valid, some not. Here are our thoughts about the application….

ZOOM was originally created by a Chinese based company. It took off beyond belief, the pandemic the likeliest reason. However, Chinese based companies are known to have links with the national government, connections that are not tolerated in our democratic, freer societies. Hence, though the company is now based in the USA, declaring its independence of the Chinese govt and claiming that it continues to create defence mechanisms to safeguard users’ privacy and confidentiality, the risk and vulnerability claims continue.

Criticisms of ZOOM may not have validity
Information/Internet technology professionals/experts [ names/companies can be provided ] reject the vulnerability risks with counterclaims such as Google, Microsoft and Cisco are late entrants to the teleconferencing party and looking to eliminate the China-based company as a competitor. The discussion disintegrates further with claims that oil companies have joined this criticism of Zoom as travel for old fashioned face-to-face meetings has drastically declined. That ZOOM has done only superficial security patches is a final criticism claiming that ZOOM sends database information back to China.

Some further considerations
Be all the above as it may and ZOOM is by far the easiest teleconferencing app to learn. If you feel vulnerable, stop using ZOOM. According to the critics of ZOOM, even if you do not discuss confidential or private matters in a ZOOM meeting, using ZOOM exposes your computer.

Personally, we are wary in our use of the Internet; we monitor all our sensitive material, bank accounts, credit card statements on a regular basis to confirm no unauthorized activity and second, we have as many defensive safeguards in place as we can but using the Internet means no privacy and vulnerability in of itself.

ZOOM increasingly rejected
A number of institutions, government bodies and educational facilities have stopped using ZOOM because of the possible risk claims may have validity.  They use alternate teleconferencing apps such as created by GOOGLE, MICROSOFT and CISCO. I am not willing to learn, relearn and relearn again material which I have already spent much time learning. Besides the experts with whom I consulted may have some validity in their claims about ZOOM. But who is to say these claims actually are real or worse, cannot be applied to GOOGLE, MICROSOFT and CISCO also.

The bottom line: if you have apprehensions or fears about ZOOM. Stop using it. More importantly, realize that using the Internet, no matter how well protected you are, still exposes you to hackers, computer users who have malevolent intentions at worst, or are playing with testing of their computer skills at best.

The use of the Internet is your call.

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