Zoom hires former Facebook Chief Security Officer to improve privacy

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There are very few times I am actually laughing when covering a story, this being one of them. I wrote a pretty scathing editorial piece last week calling Zoom out for what they deserve.

They clearly didn’t listen. Today the company posted a new blog post that outlined its “commitment” to address Zoom’s privacy and security flaws over the next 90 days. The CEO states,

To that end, I am excited to announce two developments: we have officially formed our CISO Council and Advisory Board, including security leaders from across industries; and Alex Stamos has joined Zoom as an outside advisor to assist with the comprehensive security review of our platform.

The new board includes leaders and “experts” on privacy and security from multiple companies,

I am truly humbled that — in less than a week after announcing our 90-day plan — some of the most well-respected CISOs in the world have offered us their time and services. This includes CISOs from HSBC, NTT Data, Procore, and Ellie Mae, among others. The purpose of the CISO Council will be to engage with us in an ongoing dialogue about privacy, security, and technology issues and best practices — to share ideas, and collaborate.

Within our CISO Council, we are establishing an Advisory Board that will include a subset of CISOs who will act as advisors to me personally. This group will enable me to be a more effective and thoughtful leader and will help ensure that privacy and security are at the forefront of everything we do at Zoom. The initial members of our Advisory Board will include security leaders from VMware, Netflix, Uber, Electronic Arts, and others.

One name that stands out is a fellow called Alex Stamos, he is a “widely respected” cybersecurity expert and an Adjunct Professor at Stanford’s Freeman-Spogli Institute. But, you ready? He is also the former Cheif Security Officer at Facebook.

A reason Zoom hired Alex is thanks to a string of tweets he posted last week sharing steps the company could take to address the issue. Alex says he is excited about the opportunity (I bet he is) and the challenge it presents since Zoom has become a crucial part of some people’s lives. In a Medium blog post Alex says,

“To successfully scale a video-heavy platform to such a size, with no appreciable downtime and in the space of weeks, is literally unprecedented in the history of the internet,”

“It has been clear to many people who have worked on production-scale systems that something special has been happening at Zoom, and the related security challenges are fascinating.

He ends his justification for joining Zoom with this:

“I encourage the entire industry to use this moment to reflect on their own security practices and have honest conversations about things we could all be doing better,” 

I mean, let’s be frank, really Zoom? First, you share data with Facebook without user consent then you hire the guy who was in charge of Facebook’s privacy during the whole 2016 scandal. Alex served at Facebook from 2015 to 2018. He left after arguments about how the company should address the Russian’s use of the platform in the 2016 US Presidental election.

Given Facebook’s extremely negative public image on privacy and its values related to it, this news isn’t going to sit well with many people. Especially with those already skeptical of Zoom and its true intentions.

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Sami started falling in love with Apple in 2010 with the iPhone 4S. As a registered developer, he deeply admires the world of Apple. Sami is an aspiring journalist, writer, and actor. He also has devoted his life to sharing his passion and knowledge with others around the world.