Zoom, the widely-used video conferencing platform, has recently updated its terms of service, introducing a new section that has raised eyebrows and concerns among users and privacy advocates. The section, titled “10.4 Customer License Grant” outlines the rights that Zoom now claims over customer content. Here’s a summary of Zoom’s updated terms of service and an analysis of the potential dangers to its customers.
What Zoom is Doing
Here is the section in question:
10.4 Customer License Grant. You agree to grant and hereby grant Zoom a perpetual, worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free, sublicensable, and transferable license and all other rights required or necessary to redistribute, publish, import, access, use, store, transmit, review, disclose, preserve, extract, modify, reproduce, share, use, display, copy, distribute, translate, transcribe, create derivative works, and process Customer Content and to perform all acts with respect to the Customer Content: (i) as may be necessary for Zoom to provide the Services to you, including to support the Services; (ii) for the purpose of product and service development, marketing, analytics, quality assurance, machine learning, artificial intelligence, training, testing, improvement of the Services, Software, or Zoom’s other products, services, and software, or any combination thereof; and (iii) for any other purpose relating to any use or other act permitted in accordance with Section 10.3. If you have any Proprietary Rights in or to Service Generated Data or Aggregated Anonymous Data, you hereby grant Zoom a perpetual, irrevocable, worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free, sublicensable, and transferable license and all other rights required or necessary to enable Zoom to exercise its rights pertaining to Service Generated Data and Aggregated Anonymous Data, as the case may be, in accordance with this Agreement.
The new section grants Zoom a broad range of rights over customer content, including the ability to redistribute, publish, modify, reproduce, and even create derivative works. The rights extend to various purposes, including:
- Providing Services: Zoom can use the content as necessary to provide its services to customers.
- Product and Service Development: The content can be used for marketing, analytics, quality assurance, machine learning, artificial intelligence, training, testing, and improving Zoom’s products and services.
- Other Purposes: The content can be used for any other purpose in accordance with Section 10.3 of the agreement.
The license is perpetual, worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free, sublicensable, and transferable, giving Zoom extensive control over the content.
Potential Dangers to Zoom Customers
Many privacy experts and Zoom customers have expressed concerns, many, including actress/director Justine Bateman have said they will quit the platform until the policies are changed:
What are they worried about?
1. Privacy Concerns:
The broad scope of the license may lead to significant privacy concerns. The ability to modify, share, and use customer content for various purposes, including marketing and product development, could lead to unauthorized exposure of personal or sensitive information.
2. Intellectual Property Rights:
The terms grant Zoom the right to create derivative works and redistribute content. This could potentially infringe on the intellectual property rights of customers, especially businesses that share proprietary information through the platform.
3. Lack of Transparency:
The terms are quite broad and encompassing, potentially allowing Zoom to use customer content in ways that users may not fully understand or anticipate. This lack of transparency could lead to mistrust and dissatisfaction among users.
4. Legal and Ethical Implications:
The extensive rights claimed by Zoom might conflict with various legal and ethical standards, particularly in regions with stringent data protection laws. This could expose both Zoom and its customers to legal risks.
Zoom’s updated terms of service represent a significant shift in the company’s approach to customer content. While the changes may support Zoom’s business objectives, they also introduce potential dangers related to privacy, intellectual property rights, transparency, and legal compliance.
Customers should carefully review these new terms and consider the implications for their personal or business use of the platform. It may also be wise for users to consult with legal professionals to understand how these changes might affect their specific situation. The update serves as a reminder that in the digital age, understanding and actively managing our digital rights is more critical than ever.
You can read Zoom’s full TOS here.