SC seeks Centre's response on Zoom ban for privacy breach, security issues

Topics Data Privacy | Zoom | Coronavirus

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

Zoom shot into prominence in India during the nationwide lockdown to prevent the spread of coronavirus as more and more professionals worked from home and used this application to collaborate with colleagues remotely. 

A Bench headed by Chief Justice S A Bobde and comprising Justices A S Bopanna and Hrishikesh Roy issued a notice to the Centre on this plea.

The petitioner, Harsh Chugh, argued that the software application was not safe and did not have end-to-end encryption, and as a consequence, it was violating the Information Technology Act, 2000, and Information Technology (Procedure and Safeguards for Interception, Monitoring and Decryption of Information) Rules, 2009, news agency IANS reported.

"The relief sought in the present petition is urgent in view of the penetration of offending software increasing with each day and as the concern raised in the present petition have a pan-Indian ramifications" said the plea.

The plea submitted that the software application was a threat to individuals' privacy and cited that the CEO of Zoom Video Communications had already "apologised 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 contends that it is important to put in place a standard regulation to safeguard the rights of the citizens.

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