Zoom had a ‘record’ April in India despite Government’s red flag over privacy

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Published: May 9, 2020 4:43 PM

The MHA had issued an advisory for Zoom users in India in April, to safeguard their virtual meetings from prying eyes, deeming the video conferencing platform unsafe.

Have you Zoom-ed yet? (Photo credit: Reuters)

Zoom’s fine run continued in April with the controversy-ridden video conferencing platform raking 131 million downloads worldwide, according to data released by Sensor Tower. To put it more simply, Zoom was the most downloaded “non-game” app in the world in April across both Android and iOS. Even more importantly, 18.2% of these downloads came from India, despite the Government’s red flag over its many privacy issues. The United States followed second accounting for 14.3% Zoom downloads during the same period.

The Ministry of Home Affairs had issued an advisory for Zoom users in India in April, to safeguard their ‘virtual’ meetings from prying eyes, deeming the video conferencing platform ‘unsafe.’ Note that the Government of India hasn’t banned Zoom in the country, though Government officials as well as those who may use it for work purposes, have been barred from video calling/conferencing through Zoom largely. The general public can still continue to use Zoom, like before, though the Government doesn’t necessarily advise them to do that. The Government’s advisory had come just days after the country’s nodal cyber security agency, CERT-In, raised an alarm about how Zoom was prone to cyberattacks.

In response to the Government advisory, Zoom had come up and assured users that it took their security extremely seriously. “A large number of global institutions ranging from the world’s largest financial services companies and telecommunications providers, to non-governmental organisations and government agencies, have done exhaustive security reviews of our user, network and datacenter layers,” and that “they continue to use Zoom for most or all of their unified communications needs,” a Zoom spokesperson had said in a statement given out to the press.

Sensor Tower data seems to suggest that all is well for Zoom in the country when it comes to the general folk using it and it’s easy to explain why that is. Zoom’s ease of use and host of benefits have catapulted it to fame around the world, including India. There’s a lot of good stuff happening here, and mostly it’s happening for free which is probably one of the biggest reasons why Zoom has picked up so much steam.

As for privacy, even though it was late to the party, it seems it’s giving it a major rethinking now. The company is gradually rolling out Zoom 5.0, which it says is a “key milestone” in its 90-day plan to proactively identify, address, and enhance the security and privacy capabilities of its platform. The update brings a lot of privacy-focused changes to the platform including passwords by default, enhanced AES 256-bit GCM encryption, and more. You can read more about these changes here.

Also Read EXCLUSIVE: We spoke to Zoom about its privacy issues and how it plans to convince the Govt of India that it’s safe

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