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Zoom to settle US privacy lawsuit for $85m

By AFP - Aug 02,2021 - Last updated at Aug 02,2021

In this file photo illustration taken on March 30, 2020, a Zoom App logo is displayed on a smartphone in Arlington, Virginia (AFP photo)

SAN FRANCISCO — Zoom, the videoconferencing firm, has agreed to settle a class-action US privacy lawsuit for $85 million, it said on Sunday.

The suit charged that Zoom's sharing of users' personal data with Facebook, Google and LinkedIn was a breach of privacy for millions.

While Zoom denied wrongdoing, it did agree to improve its security practices.

The settlement needs to be approved by US District Judge Lucy Koh in San Jose, California.

A Zoom spokesman told AFP: "The privacy and security of our users are top priorities for Zoom, and we take seriously the trust our users place in us.

"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."

The settlement will set up a "non-reversionary cash fund of $85 million to pay valid claims, notice and administration costs, Service Payments to Class Representatives, and any attorneys' fees and costs awarded by the court", according to the preliminary settlement.

All class members are eligible for payment, it said.

Those who paid for an account can receive 15 per cent of the money they paid to Zoom for their core subscription during that time or $25, whichever is greater; while those who did not pay for a subscription can make a claim for $15. 

As the coronavirus pandemic closed offices due to health risks and companies shifted to working online, use of video and collaboration platforms hosted by companies including Zoom, Slack, Microsoft, and Google rocketed.

But Zoom's rapid growth came with pressure to deal with security and privacy as the platform faced scrutiny from rising usage.

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