Amid growing privacy concerns and reports of troll attacks, Singapore has temporarily banned teachers from using the Zoom video conferencing tool, Reuters reports. The country’s education ministry also announced on Friday that it would investigate several “very serious incidents” in which students were exposed to obscene pictures and comments during live lessons – a known practice under the name of “Zoom bombardment“Who has plagued the company as the Covid-19 epidemic pushes more and more people to work and learn at a distance.
“The MOE (Ministry of Education) is currently investigating the two offenses and will file a police report if warranted,” said Aaron Loh of the department’s educational technology division, according to Reuters.
He did not go into details about these incidents, but several strange men were seen crushing a virtual geography lesson with obscene images and making rude comments to teenage students, according to local media. Loh said teachers in Singapore will be banned from using Zoom “until these safety concerns are resolved.”
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When contacted for comment by email, a Zoom spokesperson provided the following response regarding these “meeting disruptors” in general:
“We have been deeply distressed by the increase in harassment reports on our platform and strongly condemn this behavior. We listen to our community of users to help us evolve our approach and help our users to guard against these attacks. “
The statement goes on to highlight some of the common sense safety precautions Zoom has adopted in recent weeks. These include enabling waiting rooms and password requirements for virtual conference rooms by default, added a “Security” menu and removed the Zoom ID for a meeting (a tag commonly used among trolls in the context of attacks) from the title toolbar.
The Singapore ban is just the latest in a series of restrictions and precautions that lawmakers around the world have taken against the videoconference company. New York City released on Monday a similar zoom ban among its classrooms citing the widespread cybersecurity concerns that Zoom shareholders have since continued—Including a lack of end-to-end encryption despite the company previously claiming to present it. Officials in Taiwan and Germany have also limited the way government employees use Zoom, and this week Google banned the desktop version company laptops.
In a lawsuit filed Tuesday, Zoom shareholders say the lack of adequate security measures puts users “at increased risk of having their personal information accessed by unauthorized parties, including Facebook.” The lawsuit goes on to say that the Covid-19 epidemic has only exacerbated Zoom’s security concerns as growing dependence on telework and virtual classrooms worldwide has inflated its user base of 10 million to 200 million in just a few months.