Classroom Technology

New York City Schools Ban Zoom as Privacy Concerns Mount

By Mark Lieberman — April 06, 2020 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

New York City’s education department has banned schools from using the videoconference platform Zoom, following reports nationwide of educators’ sessions being hacked and disrupted.

The city’s directive, first reported by Chalkbeat, urges schools and their employees to transition to Microsoft Teams as quickly as possible.

Eric Yuan, CEO of Zoom, told CNN on Sunday that the company is still in touch with New York City schools and is working on addressing privacy and security concerns. “We made some missteps,” he said.

The district’s decision is likely to create more headaches for school employees who have been hurrying to keep students learning remotely during the coronavirus pandemic. But it may come as a relief to privacy advocates who have been sounding the alarm about Zoom since before the outbreak hit.

“What [New York City’s schools chancellor] should do now is negotiate a contract with Zoom tthat complies with state law and protects student privacy, and train teachers on how to use this app and other apps in a more responsible manner,” said Leonie Haimson, executive director of the nonprofit Class Size Matters and a student privacy expert.

Details of what happens behind the scenes with data from the videoconferencing platform continue to emerge. The Washington Post reported on Friday that hundreds of archived public Zoom meetings are posted publicly online. The New York Times found evidence that some users were able to access identifying LinkedIn profile details about other users without their knowledge or consent. More than two dozen state attorneys general have inquired in recent days about issues with Zoom.

Schools across the country are evaluating their relationship with Zoom, and several other districts, including Clark County in Nevada, have asked employees not to use Zoom. Other districts, like Conejo Unified in California, are sharing precautionary steps with teachers and staff.

Virtual school board and classroom meetings in numerous states have been interrupted by “Zoombombers"—hackers, including some teenagers, who post pornographic, racist, offensive or comedic imagery in an attempt to sow chaos and shut chat rooms down.

Advocates have also raised questions about the extent to which Zoom collects and shares data, a particularly sensitive issue for students using the platform for the first time to communicate with teachers.

Related Tags:

A version of this news article first appeared in the Digital Education blog.

Commenting has been disabled on effective Sept. 8. Please visit our FAQ section for more details. To get in touch with us visit our contact page, follow us on social media, or submit a Letter to the Editor.


This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Teaching Webinar
6 Key Trends in Teaching and Learning
As we enter the third school year affected by the pandemic—and a return to the classroom for many—we come better prepared, but questions remain. How will the last year impact teaching and learning this school
Content provided by Instructure
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Equity & Diversity Webinar
Evaluating Equity to Drive District-Wide Action this School Year
Educational leaders are charged with ensuring all students receive equitable access to a high-quality education. Yet equity is more than an action. It is a lens through which we continuously review instructional practices and student
Content provided by BetterLesson
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Student Well-Being Webinar
Attendance Awareness Month: The Research Behind Effective Interventions
More than a year has passed since American schools were abruptly closed to halt the spread of COVID-19. Many children have been out of regular school for most, or even all, of that time. Some
Content provided by AllHere

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Classroom Technology Quiz Quiz Yourself: How Much Do You Know About Online Student Engagement?
How is your district doing with online student engagement?
Classroom Technology The Future of Blended Learning: What Educators Need to Know
More than two-thirds of educators expect their use of blended learning to increase during the 2021-22 school year.
8 min read
onsr edtech blended
Classroom Technology Why School Districts Are Unprepared for COVID-19 Disruptions, Again
Bad state policy, misplaced optimism, and a focus on full-time virtual schools left districts scrambling to educate quarantined students.
11 min read
onsr edtech hybrid
Classroom Technology Opinion Some Teachers Are New to Laptop Integration. Here’s How to Manage It
Let students help set expectations and make sure both you and they know how to use the tools are just a couple suggestions educators offer.
15 min read
Images shows colorful speech bubbles that say "Q," "&," and "A."