Video conferencing company, Zoom Video Communications Inc. is recently questioned by three U.S. lawmakers on its relationship with the Chinese government and data-collection practices after the company revealed that it had suspended user accounts after receiving an instruction from Beijing.
According to reliable sources, the California-based company is currently subject to heavy scrutiny after three Hong Kong and U.S.-based activists commented that their accounts were suspended, and meetings were interrupted after they decided to conduct events pertaining to China’s Tiananmen Square crackdown anniversary.
Zoom revealed that it was notified about these events by the Chinese government in May and early June and were asked to take action against it. As of now, Zoom has reinstated the accounts of these three activists, and going forward it wouldn’t honor any requests from the Chinese government that would affect users living outside of China.
In a recent statement, Zoom assured that it hasn’t given any meeting content or user information to the Chinese regulators. Additionally, its video conferencing platform does not have any backdoor that would allow any unknown party to attend a meeting without being visible.
The online video conferencing platform, which shot up in popularity during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, has seen exponential growth in downloads across China. It is one of the few services that hasn’t been blocked in China, unlike numerous prominent Western platforms like Twitter and Facebook, which have steered clear through the country due to its excessive content monitoring and censorship demand.
Evidently, Cathy McMorris Rodgers, consumer subcommittee’s ranking member, and Greg Walden, top Republican on the Committee on Energy and Commerce, have sent a letter to the CEO of Zoom, Eric Yuan, asking him to explain the firm’s data practices, whether it encrypted user’s communications or if any information was shared with Beijing.