Tech News from Around the Globe

Zoom will pay $85 million to settle lawsuit over privacy and 'zoombombing'

Engadget - Sun, 08/01/2021 - 3:54pm

Zoom is facing more consequences for its earlier privacy and security lapses. Reutersreports that Zoom has agreed to pay $85 million to settle a lawsuit accusing the video chat giant of violating privacy and enabling "zoombombing" (that is, trolls dropping into others' chats). The preliminary settlement also requires tougher security measures, such as warning about participants with third-party apps and offering special privacy-oriented training to Zoom staff.

Judge Lucy Koh said the company was largely protected against zoombombing claims thanks to the Communications Decency Act's Section 230 safeguards against liability for users' actions.

The settlement could also lead to payouts if the lawsuit achieves a proposed class action status, but don't expect a windfall. Subscribers would receive a refund of either 15 percent or $25, whichever was larger, while everyone else would receive as much as $15. Lawyers intended to collect up to $21.25 million in legal costs.

In a statement, Zoom denied doing anything wrong and said that privacy and security were "top priorities." The company previously agreed to settle a Federal Trade Commission complaint over similar privacy issues, including the permanent web server it installed on Macs.

Zoom scrambled to bolster security for its video chats after a surge in pandemic-related use drew attention to vulnerabilities in its software and services. It started rolling out end-to-end encryption in October 2020, conducted reviews and made zoombombing more difficult. The improvements were too late for some users, though, and it's safe to say the settlement is a warning to companies that only belatedly tighten security for their apps.

Google won't let you sign in with very old Android versions after September 27th

Engadget - Sun, 08/01/2021 - 2:31pm

Are you still holding on to a Nexus One for sentimental reasons? It might be time to move on. Reddit users and 91mobiles have learned that Google will no longer let you sign into the company's apps on devices running Android 2.3.7 (Gingerbread) or lower from September 27th onward. You can still sign in on the web, but you'll have to update to at least the tablet-only Android 3.0 (realistically, Android 4.0) if you want to avoid major hassles while checking Gmail or navigating with Google Maps.

The cutoff is necessary to protect account privacy, Google said in an email to customers. We've asked Google if can elaborate on its reasoning.

This won't affect day-to-day phone use for many people, as you might guess. Gingerbread and earlier Android releases have so little usage share that they've been lumped into the "other" category for years, and the hardware already struggles to handle many modern tasks. However, it does mark a rare instance of Google cutting off basic functionality for older Android versions, not just OS updates or Play Services features. Think of this as Google setting a baseline — you'll need a device updated within the last decade to receive at least rudimentary support.