Zoom & local Laws

I thought I would break this out of another thread, since it’s something that is worth exploring on its own.

A few reports have surfaced of Zoom having deactivated the account of US-based Chinese activists:

Even Ben Thompson at Stratechery mentioned it in his daily update(https://stratechery.com/ subscription for daily updates)

It appears to have since been reinstated.

I think there is a potential reputational risk with this news, depending on how much leg it has.

On its face, disabling a US based account of a (presumably) US lawful resident to comply with Chinese local law seems like it could run afoul of US customer protection laws, especially if it was a paid account. Free accounts are somewhat at the whim of the company.

I could see blocking Chinese-based accounts from attending meeting with specific accounts or maybe blocking certain account access from China to comply with local laws. But extra-jurisdictional account disabling seems a big deal.

This definitely feeds in the “Chinese Company” narrative and might provide headwind on governmental services. Last thing we need is a congressional hearing and fear mongering.

I think this is probably another growing pains issue due to unprecedented growth. Zoom will definitely need to adjust its processes to deal with these kind of issues. At least, have country-specific handling personnel based on which country an account is based in when it comes to suspending an account.

I’m long zoom, and have actually joined the paid service. To paraphrase Saul, my Zoom gains have covered the cost of years of service.



What I don’t get is how Zoom determined the “activist” content was violating “local laws”. Is Zoom privy to all our content (seemingly yes)? Is Zoom versed in local laws?

What is next… banning Antifa Zoom? Or religious context? Is Zoom in danger of becoming Twitter-like?

Zoom has a PR issue here.

Zoom is its own worst enemy. One hopes they will put this to bed with the same vigor that they amended their “encryption” quality.

post tenebras lux
For not in my bow do I trust, nor can my sword save me.

I wonder if they found they did not have a way to disconnect just the users in China, since the conferences were already in session.

“Dancing with Despots” is not easy for any corporation to do in the public eye. (Corporations prefer to do their dirty dancing when and where no one can watch.)

From news report the next day, it appears this was a combination of lack of technical abilities and verification.

a) Chinese authorities told Zoom that 4 publicized meeting contravene Chinese law based on topics to be discussed (Tianamen Square Anniversary). Apparently, Zoom disabled the account of the organizer of 3 of the meeting.

b) Once they realized the organizer was not in China, they reinstated the account.

I believe that at that time, Zoom had technical limitations allowing it to address the Chinese request. If you think about it, they developed a platform to allow meetings between far flung participants, mainly for commercial use prior to Covid. In that context, developing the ability to stop someone from attending a meeting if they have the info is not something they would think of developing. Let alone some kind of “geofencing” capability(i.e. block users from a given Country to attend specific meeting).

The good news is that this was not some kind of real-time monitoring, but a request to block a future meeting for some users. But still gives one pause.


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In that context, developing the ability to stop someone from attending a meeting if they have the info is not something they would think of developing.

Particularly since the interest in blocking attendance came from the Chinese government, not from Zoom.

I’m surprised there isn’t a thread here of the Chinese government wanting to know which Chinese citizens attended the meeting.