US Senate, German government tell staff not to use Zoom

The two organizations now join a list that also includes the Taiwanese government, the Australian government, SpaceX, Google, and New York state area schools.

Zoom

Image: Zoom, ZDNet

The US Senate and the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs have become the latest organizations to advise staff against using the Zoom video conferencing app.

According to a report from the Financial Times, the US Senate sergeant at arms sent an advisory last week warning Senate members and their respective staff against using the app because of growing security concerns [see a full list here].

The advisory did not ban the use of Zoom but instead told Senate members to look into alternatives like Skype for Business and others, according to CNN reporter Brian Fung.

However, while the US Senate sergeant at arms did not ban the use of Zoom, German officials had no problem in enforcing a such a decision.

According to German newspaper Handelsblatt, the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs told employees in a circular this week to stop using the app -- similarly, on the grounds of security and data privacy concerns.

Previous bans at Google, SpaceX, elsewhere

The two organizations now join a long list of entities that have banned Zoom. The list includes the Taiwanese government, the Australian government, SpaceX, Google, and New York state area schools.

All organizations banned Zoom after multiple security flaws and privacy slip-ups came to light about the app in recent weeks.

The app grew from 10 million users in December to more than 200 million in March, primarily due to the current coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Before its sudden rise to fame, Zoom employees had been focused on improving the app's features and did not heavily invest in its security.

At the start of April, following a rising tide of criticism, Zoom CEO Eric Yuan said the company would pause developing new features for its video conferencing software and instead focus on improving the app's security -- measures on which the company delivered, both at the software level (via updates and patches) and at the organizational level (by setting up a security council).

However, despite its quick reaction to fix all the reported issues, it will take some time before Zoom repairs its damaged reputation.