A couple of months ago, Zoom was a dull, if successful, videoconferencing app that not many people knew about. Now, it is a household name and an integral part of many of our quarantined lives. We conduct business meetings on it; we chat to our mates on it; some people even have sex parties on it.
Yet there are growing concerns over what it does with users’ data. You may think you are working from the privacy of your own home, but the software is probably sharing a lot more information about you than you realise. Zoom has an attention-tracking feature, for example, which notifies the host of some video calls if participants click away to look at something else.
I am not saying that you should boycott Zoom and communicate via carrier pigeon. However, as we are forced to live even more of our lives online, let’s not stop holding tech companies to account. Let’s not stop trying to safeguard our right to privacy. Our civil liberties are most fragile during times of crisis. Governments around the world are already using this pandemic to bolster the surveillance state. If we don’t stay vigilant, our privacy will be lost before you can say “Zoom”.