Video chat giant Zoom has agreed to pay USD 85 million to settle a class-action US privacy lawsuit that has accused the video conferencing firm of violating privacy rights of millions of users by sharing their personal data with Facebook, Google and LinkedIn and enabling zoombombing (letting hackers disrupt zoom meetings).
A preliminary settlement filed on Saturday afternoon requires approval by U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh in San Jose, California, Reuters reported.
As per the court document [PDF], the settlement establishes a non-reversionary cash fund of US$85 million to pay claims and fees. It will also include administration costs, Service Payments to Class Representatives and any attorneys’ fees and costs awarded by the Court
Zoom collected approximately $1.3 billion from US subscribers, and the settlement amount represents around six per cent of the total revenues collected based on allegedly unlawful activities.The plaintiffs’ lawyers called the $85 million settlement reasonable given the litigation risks.
Zoom has denied any wrongdoings but agreed to improve its security, privacy and data measures. It aims to alert users when meeting hosts or other participants use third-party apps in meetings, and to provide specialized training to employees on privacy and data handling.
“The privacy and security of our users are top priorities for Zoom, and we take seriously the trust our users place in us”, reads a press statement issued by the company Sunday.
As a part of the settlement, Facebook has been asked to delete any US user data obtained from Zoom’s software development kit.
Zoom’s customer base has grown sixfold since the COVID-19 pandemic forced more people to work from home. The company had 497,000 customers with more than 10 employees in April 2021, up from 81,900 in January 2020.