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Photo: Tiffany Hagler-Geard/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Zoom agreed to pay $85 million and fortify its privacy features to settle a lawsuit claiming the company violated users' privacy rights by sharing data with tech companies and allowing hackers to jump into zoom calls, Reuters reports.

Why it matters: Zoom became many people's go-to platform for both work and social interaction during the pandemic, but this isn't the first time the platform has been asked to step up its privacy measures.

State of play: The class action lawsuit was filed in March 2020 and is one of several legal challenges facing the company, reports the BBC.

  • The suit alleges that the video sharing platform shared millions of users' data with Facebook, Google and LinkedIn. It also alleges that Zoom incorrectly claimed to offer end-to-end encryption and failed to stop hackers from "zoombombing" calls, per the BBC.
  • "Zoombombing," when third-party users jump into zoom calls to disrupt them, often with graphic or disturbing content, has been a concern since the early days of the pandemic.

The big picture: Despite agreeing to pay $85 million in the preliminary settlement filed Saturday, the company did not admit to any wrongdoing, according to Reuters.

  • As part of the new security measures, Zoom has agreed to alter users when call participants use third-party apps during meetings and to offer employees "specialized training" on how to better handle users' privacy and data, per Reuters.
  • "The privacy and security of our users are top priorities for Zoom, and we take seriously the trust our users place in us," a spokesperson on behalf of Zoom told Axios. "We are proud of the advancements we have made to our platform, and look forward to continuing to innovate with privacy and security at the forefront."

What to watch: The preliminary settlement still needs to be approved by U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh in San Jose, California.

  • "Subscribers in the proposed class action would be eligible for 15% refunds on their core subscriptions or $25, whichever is larger, while others could receive up to $15," notes Reuters.

Go deeper

Ina Fried, author of Login
Sep 28, 2021 - Technology

Behind the Instagram Kids pause

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Facebook's announcement Monday that it was "pausing development" on Instagram Kids did little to slow a wave of criticism of the project ahead of a Senate hearing Thursday.

Yes, but: There's an argument to be made for building kids' versions of popular apps, even if their adult versions are causing real-world harms.

California governor declares drought emergency for entire state

California Gov. Gavin Newsom speakinng to reporters in Los Angeles in September. Photo: Allen J. Schaben/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) extended a drought emergency declaration to cover the entire state on Tuesday.

Why it matters: "California is experiencing its worst drought since the late 1800s, as measured by both lack of precipitation and high temperatures," per a statement from the governor's office. This past August was the driest and hottest one on record, "and the water year that ended last month was the second driest on record," the statement added.

Updated 2 hours ago - World

Reports: Brazil leader to be accused of crimes against humanity over COVID

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro. Photo: Andressa Anholete/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A Brazilian Senate panel will recommend President Jair Bolsonaro be charged with "crimes against humanity," alleging his COVID-19 pandemic response led to hundreds of thousands of deaths, per the New York Times and the Washington Post.

The latest: The lawmakers initially said Bolsonaro should be charged with mass homicide and genocide, but lawmakers updated the report to replace these recommendations with the new charge, its lead author, Sen. Renan Calheiros, told the NYT.