A PIL has been filed in the Supreme Court seeking a ban on usage of the software application ‘Zoom’ by the Indian public, raising security and privacy concerns of the application, until appropriate legislation has been formulated.
The Zoom app which is available free of cost on all app stores can be used on phones, laptops, tablets etc., for the purpose of hosting video calls, meetings, webinars, and such. Zoom has emerged as one of the most used applications in recent times. However, various news reports emerged highlighting security and privacy breaches caused by the Zoom app on some occasions.
Thus, the plea filed in the Supreme Court states that “The reliefs which are sought in the present petition are urgent in view of the penetration of offending software increasing with each day and as the concern raised in the present petition has pan-India ramifications.”
Petitioner Harsh Chugh primarily rests his argument on the lack of internet safety of the application and states that it does not have end-to-end encryption, and as a consequence, it is violating the Information Technology Act 2000 and Information Technology (Procedure and Safeguards for Interception, Monitoring and Decryption of Information) Rules, 2009.
“It is pertinent to point out that the CEO of the respondent no.3 has already apologized publicly and has accepted the app to be faulty in terms of providing a secure environment digitally which is against the norms of cybersecurity,” observed the petitioner, while contending that the application poses a threat to the privacy of the individuals using it and also breaches cyber security. Further, the petition reads that the software application is prone to hacking and cyber breaches, which have already been reported.
Additionally, the petitioner has averred that ‘the Zoom App practices data hoarding and cyber hoarding’, wherein issues of unauthorized access such as ‘zoom-bombing’ where a stranger can join Zoom meeting and causes disorder by saying offensive things/ shares objectionable content have also been reported.
“That it is important to realize how Zoom consistently violates its duty to implement and maintain reasonable security practices, and misleads consumers about the security benefits of the product. Zoom has targeted consumers, businesses, and schools. Rather than lending a hand to people in need, Zoom violates the privacy of its millions of users by misusing and exploiting their personal information, and falsely, deceptively, and misleadingly advertising fictitious security benefits of the program,” stated the plea.
Thus, the plea contends that it is important to put in place a standard regulation to safeguard the rights of the citizens. Further, the plea lays down the discourse pertaining to the ‘patterns of security failures and privacy infringements’ across the world.
Furthermore, the petitioner contends that the app violates right to privacy under Article 21 of the Constitution. In this regard it is submitted that data collection, storage and access without letting the user know is ‘nothing but infringing their fundamental right of privacy.’
“The baseline of privacy in cyberspace still remains blurred but it is nothing but a fact that data protection in cyberspace is the most essential form of privacy one seeks while accessing the internet and if an app cannot even assure its consumers of such data protection and rather sends out the data, it is the safest to ban such app,” observed the plea.