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New York City Bans Schools From Using Zoom For Remote Learning

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With classrooms going digital due to the stay-at-home order amid the Covid-19 pandemic, the New York City has banned the use of video conferencing app Zoom to conduct online classes, citing privacy and security concerns.

The city's Department of Education in partnership with the NYC Cyber Command took the decision after receiving many reports of "Zoombombing", in which the service's screen-share function was hacked to show porn and other lewd or offensive imagery to classrooms.

Instead of Zoom, the DOE is now recommending the use of secure tools like Google or Microsoft Teams for remote learning. According to the education department, schools were being trained for several weeks to use Microsoft Teams.

Around 1.1 million students in the City are now learning online as the school buildings were closed on March 16 following the spread of coronavirus that has claimed thousands of lives in the New York state.

During a press conference, NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio said the city was not going to put its students' privacy and data at risk.

He said that while there were efforts by the Department of Education to work with that company to ensure the privacy of students, the chancellor and the team at the Department of Education do not believe the company has cooperated.

In response, Zoom reportedly said that it is in continued dialogue with NYC's Department of Education about how Zoom can be of service during this time.

San Jose, California-based Zoom, which offers its service to K-12 classrooms for free, also offers video conferencing, online meetings, webinars, chat, and mobile collaboration.

As the coronavirus spreads across the U.S., more companies are choosing online meetings and remote conferences over face-to-face ones, benefiting Zoom immensely.

The company came under scrutiny last week after multiple reports suggested that it is illegally disclosing personal information, without proper notice, to third parties, including Facebook.

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