What Data Does Zoom Collect?

Whether you’re in school or a business meeting, chances are you’re using Zoom this year. Zoom recently shared that there are roughly 300 million Zoom meetings happening in one day.1 In case you don’t know, that’s a ton of meetings.

In many ways, Zoom is a life-saver. There’s a free platform anyone can use to easily video chat with all their friends and colleagues no matter where they’re located. But is Zoom collecting data on its users?

Knowing how much large tech companies like Facebook, Google, and TikTok all collect, the question we need to ask is what data is Zoom collecting, and how can I protect myself? Let’s dive into Zoom’s privacy policy, take a look at what Zoom has done in the past, and figure out how you can keep your data safe.

What data does Zoom collect?

If you’re still wondering whether Zoom collects your data, stop. They definitely collect data and personal information such as your name, email address, phone number, and your physical address.

Zoom even collects any information you upload during meetings and the group chat happening within the meeting. If you create a Zoom account using Facebook or Google, Zoom automatically has access to more personal information from those accounts.

How does Zoom collect my data?

It’s not like there are millions of real-life “Zoom trackers” who check in on your classes randomly just to see how Business Analytics 101 is going. It’s almost worse. It’s all based on technology. The tech itself is what keeps track, stores, and shares your data.

Of course, Zoom automatically collects any data you give it, specifically when you create an account. But it’s also able to gather more data about you from your IP address, any connected accounts, and even from the way you interact with the Zoom app.

If technology, automation, and AI are working to keep track of data and analyze patterns, then what’s happening with that information?

What does Zoom do with my data?

Zoom absolutely can and will share your data. If you’re wondering whether you can trust Zoom to keep your data safe, please don’t. Take one look at Zoom’s “Privacy Statement,” and you’ll easily see (after working past the confusing language) that Zoom maintains the right to share your data with third parties for business purposes.4 

In other words, Zoom doesn’t have your individual privacy in mind. You have to be the one to take action and do your best to protect your data. Maybe this means watching what you share on Zoom in the first place or investing in a good virtual private network (VPN). Or maybe it means deleting your Zoom account.

Is Zoom safe to use?

In case you haven’t heard, hackers are able to access Zoom meetings and easily interrupt them. These hackers are known for “Zoombombings,” which has led to greater problems for Zoom users, including the loss of personal data.

As bad as that sounds, it isn’t even the worst part. There are specific cases proving that hackers can use Zoom to access your computer’s camera without you realizing it.2 That’s why it’s always a good idea to keep a webcam cover on your laptop whenever you’re not using Zoom.

Have you ever noticed that the Zoom host can record the meeting and upload it to the Cloud? By using Zoom, you consent to allow yourself to be recorded. And that information can show up on the internet. There are actually thousands of recorded Zoom meetings (meant to be private) that anyone who knows what to search can find.3One of the best ways to protect yourself from hackers is to invest in a good VPN. VPNs encrypt your data so you’re harder to track or hack.

Best VPNs for Zoom comparison table
BrandPriceSpeed testNumber of serversDetails
NordVPN$11.95/mo.132 Mbps5,500+View Plans
MullvadVPN$5.41/mo.90 Mbps600+View Plans
Hotspot Shield$12.99/mo.83 Mbps3,200+View Plans
Private Internet Access$9.95/mo.65 Mbps3,300View Plans
Surfshark$11.95/mo.60 Mbps1,700+View Plans

Data effective 8/26/2020. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.

How do I delete my Zoom account?

Unfortunately, there’s no way to use Zoom and not agree to the privacy terms. If you do use Zoom, you’re giving up a lot of your personal information. But knowing this should help some users limit the use of Zoom for personal things you wouldn’t want leaking on the internet.

In case you’d rather delete your Zoom account altogether, here are the steps:

  1. Sign in to your Zoom account.
  2. Go to the navigation menu at the top of the page.
  3. Click Account Management, and select Account Profile.
  4. Select Terminate My Account.

By deleting your Zoom account and no longer using the application, you’re stopping it from collecting your data. If you want to know more about how to stay safe online, check out our internet safety tips.

Sources 

1. Tom Warren, The Verge, “Zoom Admits It Doesn’t Have 300 Million Users, Corrects Misleading Claims,” April 30, 2020. Accessed October 30, 2020.

2. Richie Koch, “Using Zoom? Here Are the Privacy Issues You Need to Be Aware Of,” March 20, 2020. Accessed October 30, 2020.

3. Jack Morse, “Thousands of Private Zoom Videos Are Online for Anyone to Watch,” April 3, 2020. Accessed October 30, 2020.

4. Zoom, “Zoom Privacy Statement,” August 2020. Accessed October 30, 2020.