The use of Zoom and other digital communications has exploded as many Americans have been ordered to stay at home to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
SpaceX’s ban on Zoom Video Communications Inc illustrates the growing challenges facing aerospace manufacturers as they develop technology deemed vital to national security while trying to protect employees from rapidly spreading respiratory illnesses.
In an email dated March 28, SpaceX told employees that all access to Zoom had been disabled with immediate effect.
“We understand that many of us used this tool for conferences and support meetings,” said SpaceX in the message. “Please use email, text or telephone as an alternative means of communication. “
Two people familiar with the matter confirmed the contents of the letter.
A representative of SpaceX, which has more than 6,000 employees, did not respond to a request for comment. CEO Musk also heads electric car maker Tesla Inc.
NASA, one of SpaceX’s biggest customers, also prohibits its employees from using Zoom, said Stephanie Schierholz, spokesperson for the US space agency.
The FBI’s Boston office issued a Zoom warning on Monday, telling users not to post meetings on the site or share links after receiving two reports from unidentified individuals invading school sessions, a phenomenon known as “zoom bombardment”.
Investigative news site The Intercept reported on Tuesday that the Zoom video was not encrypted end-to-end between meeting participants, and that the company could view the sessions.
Zoom did not immediately respond to requests for comment on SpaceX’s decision, but advised users to use all of the privacy features on its platform.
As a defense contractor, SpaceX, based in California, has been classified as a core business, which allows it to remain open during the closings in force in California and Texas, the center of its rocket development and test. Starship which could be used to fly to the moon and Mars and send national security satellites into space.
Report by Munsif Vengattil, Joey Roulette, Eric M. Johnson and Supantha Mukherjee; edited by Patrick Graham, Peter Henderson and Lisa Shumaker
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