May 23, 2020

SC seeks Centre response on Zoom ban for breaching privacy, security issues

[ by Legal Era News Network ]


The Supreme Court has sought a response from the Centre on a plea seeking a ban on Zoom, the popular software application, until formulation of an appropriate legislation.

A bench headed by Chief Justice S.A. Bobde and comprising Justices A.S. Bopanna and Hrishikesh Roy issued notice to the Centre on the plea. The petitioner, Harsh Chugh, argued that the software application is not safe and does not have end-to-end encryption, and as a consequence, it is violating the Information Technology Act 2000 and Information Technology (Procedure and Safeguards for Interception, Monitoring and Decryption of Information) Rules, 2009.

“The reliefs which are sought in the present petition are urgent in view of the penetration of offending software increasing with each day and as the concern raised in the present petition have pan-India ramifications” said the plea.

The plea submitted that the software application is a threat to individual’s privacy and cited that the CEO of Zoom Video Communications has already “apologized publicly and accepted the app to be faulty in terms of providing a secure environment digitally which is against the norms of cyber security”. As a result, the petitioner contends the software application is prone to hacking and cyber breaches, which have already been reported.

Therefore, the petition has also impleaded other stakeholders responsible - the Centre through the Ministry of Electronics & IT and Cyber & Information Security Division of MHA.

The plea argued that Zoom app practices data hoarding and cyber hoarding, and also issues of unauthorized access termed as “zoom-bombing”, where a stranger can join Zoom meetings and share objectionable content. “That it is important to realize how Zoom consistently violates its duty to implement and maintain reasonable security practices, and misleads consumers about the security benefits of the product. Zoom has targeted consumers, businesses, and schools....”, said the plea. The plea contended that it is important to put in place a standard regulation to safeguard the rights of the citizens.

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