The following is a media release from Sen. Ed Markey’s offices. He was elected by voters in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to serve the state in Washington DC in the US Senate. He is a Democrat.
BOSTON – As countless Americans turn Zoom into a verb, Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass), a member of the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, yesterday, April 8, urged the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to issue comprehensive guidelines for companies that provide online conferencing services.
He also called for a set of best practices for users that will help protect online safety and privacy during the coronavirus pandemic and beyond.
Millions of Americans have become dependent on online conferencing services for work, school, and contact with loved ones.
A growing number of incidents over the past several weeks have revealed that these technologies may expose their users to significant cybersecurity and privacy risks.
“As Americans’ reliance on online conferencing grows, individuals are increasingly vulnerable to cyber-attacks and inappropriate access of their personal data,” the Senator writes in his letter to FTC Chair Joseph Simmons and the other Commissioners. “Although much of the recent reporting has focused on Zoom due to its growing user base, and I would urge the FTC to conduct a thorough investigation into Zoom, it is clear that no platform is immune from risks. Other services, including Cisco Webex, Microsoft Teams, and Slack have all previously had security flaws exposed, raising the need for the FTC to issue guidance generally ‘to help businesses understand their responsibilities and comply with the law,’ particularly during this pandemic.”
A copy of the letter can be found HERE.
In his letter, Senator Markey urges the FTC issue guidance to companies on topics including:
- Implementing secure authentication and other safeguards against unauthorized access;
- Enacting limits on data collection and recording;
- Employing encryption and other security protocols for securing data; and
- Providing clear and conspicuous privacy policies for users.
The Senator also requests that the FTC develop best practices for users of online conferencing software to help them make informed, safe decisions when choosing and utilizing these technologies, covering topics including:
- Identifying and preventing cyber threats such as phishing and malware;
- Sharing links to online meetings without compromising security;
- Restricting access to meetings via software settings; and
- Recognizing that different versions of a company’s service may provide varying levels of privacy protection.