NYC schools told not to use Zoom for distance learning amid security concerns, reports say

NYC schools told not to use Zoom for distance learning amid security concerns, reports say

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Teachers in public schools in New York City have been told not to use Zoom video conferencing technology for distance learning amid and privacy concerns, according to media .

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, Zoom is also being used by schools for distance learning.

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

The Chalkbeat website reports that New York City’s Department of Education has received reports of issues impacting Zoom privacy and security. “Based on the DOE’s review of those documented concerns, the DOE will no longer permit the use of Zoom at this time,” it said, in a memo to principals obtained by Chalkbeat.

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Instead, schools were advised to switch to Microsoft’s Microsoft Teams collaboration technology, according to Chalkbeat.

In this photo illustration, the American video Communications company Zoom logo seen displayed on a smartphone with a computer model of the COVID-19 coronavirus on the background.
(Photo Illustration by Budrul Chukrut/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

“Zoom takes user privacy, security, and trust extremely seriously,” said a Zoom spokeswoman, in a statement emailed to Fox News. “Zoom was originally developed for enterprise use, and has been confidently selected for complete deployment by a large number of institutions globally, following security reviews of our user, network and datacenter layers. During the COVID-19 pandemic, we are working around-the-clock to ensure that hospitals, universities, schools, and other organizations across the world can stay connected and operational.”

In a recent blog post, Zoom described best practices for securing a virtual classroom and has enhanced its features for educators.

“We recently updated the default settings for education users enrolled in our K-12 program to enable waiting rooms and ensure teachers are the only ones who can share content in class by default,” the spokeswoman told Fox News. “We are proud of the role we are playing during this challenging time and committed to providing educators and other users with the tools they need.”

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Fox News has reached out to the Department of Education with a request for comment on this story.

Principals were reportedly told that Google Classroom, which is designed to help students and teachers organize assignments and collaborate, is safe to use, but not for video and voice conferencing.

Citing the same memo, the New York Daily News reported that education officials are working to get clearance for Google’s video conferencing.

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Google has not resonded to a request for comment on this story.

The FBI recently 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,” the bureau said.

Earlier this week Elon Musk’s space company SpaceX banned the use of Zoom, according to a Reuters report.

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As of Saturday afternoon, at least 1,159,515 coronavirus cases have been diagnosed worldwide, at least 290,606 of which are in the U.S. The disease has accounted for at least 62,376 deaths around the world, including more than 5,100 people in the U.S.

Fox News’ Bradford Betz and The Associated Press contributed to this article. Follow James Rogers on Twitter @jamesjrogers

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