Zoom Moves to Settle Class Action in Year-long Fight over “Zoomboming” Privacy Concerns

Zoom Video Communications, Inc. and its users filed a motion for approval of the preliminary class action settlement on Saturday in the Northern District of California over Zoom’s alleged misrepresentations and violations of customers’ security and privacy.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Zoom’s platform soared in popularity for its video conferencing services. The motion said Zoom “claimed to have end-to-end encryption” when it “in fact […] did not” have that level of security, which led to uninvited users to hijack sessions, also known as “Zoombombing.”

Additionally, the plaintiffs alleged that “Zoom improperly shared its users’ data without notice or consent through the use of third party software integrations from companies such as Facebook.” As a result, 14 class action lawsuits were filed against Zoom between March and May 2020, and were consolidated into the current class action complaint.

The two parties commenced negotiations last November and they concluded recently.

The plaintiffs are defining the Settlement Class as “All Persons in the United States who, between March 30, 2016 and the Settlement Date, registered, used, opened, or downloaded the Zoom Meetings Application” except Enterprise and Government accounts. There will be a non-reversionary monetary fund of $85 million: users who paid for an account can receive 15% of the money they paid to Zoom, or a $25 compensation, whichever is greater; and free users can make a claim for $15.

Under the agreement, Zoom will also “make over a dozen major changes to its practices, designed to improve meeting security, bolster privacy disclosures, and safeguard consumer data,” such as providing “in-meeting notifications to make it easier for users to understand who can see, save, and share Zoom users’ information and content.”

The defendant also agreed not to reintegrate Facebook’s software development kit into Zoom meetings for a year and will ask Facebook to delete data obtained from U.S. users. The plaintiffs’ counsel are asking for up to 25% of the settlement fund for attorney’s fees ($21.25 million).

The plaintiffs are represented by Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy, LLP and Ahdoot & Wolfson, PC. Zoom is represented by Cooley LLP.