Jun 12, 2020 - Technology

Lawmakers demand answers from Zoom CEO Eric Yuan

Zoom founder Eric Yuan speaks before the Nasdaq opening bell ceremony on April 18, 2019 in New York City

Image credit: Kena Betancur/Getty Images.

A bipartisan group of U.S. senators has sent a list of questions to U.S. video-conferencing company Zoom after it closed the accounts of several Chinese activists at Beijing's request.

Why it matters: Zoom is now used by hundreds of millions worldwide amid the coronavirus pandemic, making its security and privacy policies a matter of widespread concern.

Details: The letter — dated June 12 and signed by 12 senators, led by Marco Rubio and Ron Wyden — expresses concern over Zoom's actions and presses CEO Eric Yuan for more information.

  • The lawmakers asked how many accounts Zoom has closed at the Chinese government's request; whether Zoom regularly shares data with the Chinese government; and whether Zoom or its Chinese partners have Chinese Communist Party committees embedded in them, as Beijing now requires of many foreign and domestic companies.

What they're saying: "We urge you to be true to your company’s stated values, which include embracing 'different ideas and visionaries.' Zoom must be transparent and not allow foreign governments, such as the PRC government, to dictate the terms of usage."

The big picture: Zoom is caught up in a conflict between the democratic values of the country where it is based, and the authoritarian system of the country where some of its workforce and consumer base is located.

Go deeper: Zoom closed account of U.S.-based Chinese activist “to comply with local law”

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