- Teachers in New York City are banned from using Zoom for virtual education after the Department of Education cited security and privacy concerns.
- Rather, schools are encouraged to use Microsoft Teams, which the department has reportedly already started training teachers and staff to use.
- However, some critics told Chalkbeat that the platform was not as attractive as Zoom and could reduce the ability of some teachers to deliver live lessons.
- Zoom has been plagued by privacy and security concerns for the past few weeks as schools and other groups have connected and witnessed “Zoombombing” incidents, which have resulted in warnings from the FBI and requests for increased confidentiality from the New York Attorney General.
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The New York City Department of Education bans Zoom just a few weeks after students and teachers have switched to the video conferencing platform.
Chancellor of the Ministry of Education Richard Carranza announced on April 4 that security and privacy concerns were behind the ministry’s decision to ban the platform “as soon as possible”, according to a memo from service reported by Chalkbeat.
Rather, schools are encouraged to use Microsoft Teams, which the department has already started training teachers and staff to use, according to Chalkbeat.
The platform complies with student privacy laws, including FERPA, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.
As schools have moved to remote classrooms in response to new coronavirus outbreaks in the past few weeks, dozens of concerns have been raised about the privacy and security concerns users face with the platform, which has caused FBI warnings and requests for increased user privacy from New York. Attorney General.
The easy-to-access virtual meetings are joined via a single link, which has made the platform attractive to large groups such as courses, but leaves participants vulnerable to random – and sometimes offensive – intrusions.
The “Zoombombing” incidents have raised concerns as hackers or trolls appear in random Zoom calls, sometimes sharing spam or obscene material. Paayal Zaveri of Business Insider previously reported that Zoombombing had affected online courses, corporate gatherings and even virtual meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous.
The company has addressed concerns by deploying additional measures to secure meeting links. Beginning April 5, Zoom will request a password to join a meeting with the meeting ID rather than via the invite link.
Virtual waiting rooms also appear by default, allowing the meeting host to manually add participants to the meeting.
A Brooklyn director told Chalkbeat that the Microsoft app was too ineffective for teachers to adopt the way they did Zoom.
“If DOE follows up on this decision, I believe the impact will no longer be live instruction for many teachers,” said the director at the point of sale. “I’m not sure the DOE and the mayor fully understand the impact of decisions like this. “
Given critics condemning the ban and Zoom’s targeted improvements to protect users, the ban could perhaps be reconsidered in the coming weeks of distance education.
“The DOE also continues to review and monitor developments with Zoom,” the ministry wrote in a memo reported by Chalkbeat, “the use of which may be approved at a later date.”