SpaceX bans its employees using Zoom over privacy concerns, report says

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Elon Musk’s space company SpaceX has reportedly banned the use of Zoom video conferencing technology amid security and privacy concerns.

A SpaceX memo seen by Reuters cited “significant privacy and security concerns” and explained that, as of March 28, all access to Zoom would be disabled for the space company’s employees.

Zoom has been thrust into the spotlight as the world scrambles to contain the coronavirus outbreak and millions of people are now working from home. In addition to using the video conference for work, many are also tapping it to hold virtual playdates for their kids and virtual happy hours with friends and family as opposed to gathering in public places.

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With the growing use of video-conferencing services, the risk of hacking has also been highlighted.

A Falcon 9 SpaceX rocket lifts off from pad 39A during a test flight to demonstrate the capsule's emergency escape system at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla., Sunday, Jan. 19, 2020 - file photo.

A Falcon 9 SpaceX rocket lifts off from pad 39A during a test flight to demonstrate the capsule's emergency escape system at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla., Sunday, Jan. 19, 2020 - file photo. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

Earlier this week, the FBI warned of so-called “Zoom-bombing” or videoconference hacking. “The FBI has received multiple reports of conferences being disrupted by pornographic and/or hate images and threatening language,” it said.

A spokesperson for Zoom told Fox News earlier this week that the company has taken the security of its meetings seriously and was “deeply upset to hear about the incidents involving this type of attack.”

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The company added that it encouraged users hosting large, public group meetings to review settings for their safety and report incidents to its support team so it could “take appropriate action.”

The New York Times reports that New York Attorney General Letitia James has sent a letter to Zoom asking what, if any, increased privacy measures have been implemented following its surge in traffic.

In a blog post dated March 29, Zoom sought to address users’ recent concerns about its privacy policies. “We are updating our privacy policy to be more clear, explicit, and transparent,” Aparna Bawa, Zoom’s chief legal officer, said in the post.

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In a blog post on Wednesday, Zoom CEO Eric Yuan explained that usage of Zoom has ballooned overnight. “As of the end of December last year, the maximum number of daily meeting participants, both free and paid, conducted on Zoom was approximately 10 million,” he wrote. “In March this year, we reached more than 200 million daily meeting participants, both free and paid.”

“We have strived to provide you with uninterrupted service and the same user-friendly experience that has made Zoom the video-conferencing platform of choice for enterprises around the world, while also ensuring platform safety, privacy, and security,” Yuan added. “However, we recognize that we have fallen short of the community’s – and our own – privacy and security expectations. For that, I am deeply sorry, and I want to share what we are doing about it.”

Yuan outlined a number of measures undertaken by Zoom, including a dedicated K-12 privacy policy and releasing fixes for some recently-highlighted Mac issues.

Fox News has reached out to Zoom and SpaceX with a request for comment on this story.

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As of  Thursday afternoon, at least 981,221 coronavirus cases have been diagnosed worldwide, at least 226,374 of which are in the U.S. The disease has accounted for at least 50,230 deaths around the world, including at least 5,137 people in the U.S.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

Follow James Rogers on Twitter @jamesjrogers