- Attorneys general for Connecticut, New York and Florida are looking into Zoom's privacy practices, Connecticut AG William Tong announced Friday.
- The inquiry comes after Connecticut officials were "zoombombed" during a call to discuss the census.
- The state-led investigation is a clear signal of mounting regulatory pressure on Zoom.
Attorneys general for New York and Florida have joined the effort, Tong said, adding it would be up to other states to disclose their involvement. He declined to say how many states are participating.
The officials are seeking to understand Zoom's privacy practices and how it protects users. Tong fell victim to so-called zoombombing earlier this week after a Zoom forum he held with Connecticut Lt. Gov. Susan Bysiewicz about the Census was flooded with profane messages in the chat box.
The state-led investigation is a clear signal of mounting regulatory pressure on Zoom, which was recently thrust into a far more visible role as social distancing measures forced people to connect over videoconferencing platforms. Zoom went public less than a year ago as a rare profitable tech company. As the stock market has buckled in the face of the coronavirus pandemic, Zoom has been one of the few stocks to see growth.
But with the additional users came new problems and scrutiny. Zoom was developed as an enterprise communications tool and has suddenly become shrouded in the issues of a consumer tech company. On Wednesday, CEO Eric Yuan said in a blog post that the product was not designed "with the foresight that, in a matter of weeks, every person in the world would suddenly be working, studying, and socializing from home."
In the midst of the coronavirus crisis, Tong said on a call with reporters Friday that "we rely on Zoom, Facebook, Skype, Microsoft Teams and we need these communication platforms to be safe and accessible for everybody."
While this week was Tong's first experience being zoombombed, Bysiewicz said it's happened to her a handful of other times.
"It's just been incredibly frustrating to have to watch this hateful and bullying stuff going down on the side of the screen," she said on the press call.
Bysiewicz said she asked the U.S. attorney for Connecticut, John Durham, to work with the Federal Bureau of Investigation to stop zoombombing. According to Bysiewicz, Durham said he would ask his cyber division if it had begun to look into the issue.
Bysiewicz said her office had signed up for a one-month subscription with Zoom, but she's now asked her chief of staff to explore other options.
"Zoom is working around-the-clock to ensure that universities, schools, and other businesses around the world can stay connected and operational during this pandemic, and we take user privacy, security, and trust extremely seriously," a spokesperson for Zoom said in a statement. "We appreciate the outreach we have received on these issues from various elected officials and look forward to engaging with them."
Shares of Zoom closed up just above 5% on Friday.