- Use the Facebook iOS SDK to measure conversions from app install ads
- Send a list of hashed email addresses to Facebook or other advertisers to do ad re-targeting
- Have Google Analytics on their websites to track where people are visiting their website from, i.e. a click on a Google AdWords ad
While these are all not _ideal_ because _yes_, Google and Facebook use this data for their own purposes as well, it's far from _nefarious_. In fact, it's pretty standard fare. Could Zoom go above and beyond and reject these tools? Yes, they could. Does anyone in practice? No.
If Zoom was selling metadata about their calls, leaking contents of their calls, or themselves served ads – then yes, I'd be concerned. But all indications point to them purchasing ads to further the growth of their business.
(And hashed email addresses? Might as well just send the email addresses. Hashing is kind of useless there.)
Hashed contact info is just how Facebook intakes contact information. Makes it harder for them to get the info of non-Facebook users who are patrons of the business. They claim to delete it: https://www.facebook.com/business/help/112061095610075?id=24...
These are closed source, right? How do you know this feature works?
Aka "common sense" aka "anything that will fit within the Overton window"
Not to be confused with "decent, moral behavior"
I'm waiting for these conferencing apps to feed into clearview ai.
I open the .pkg, click Continue so it can run its script, then a second later Installer quits and the app launches. What?!
Turns out, Zoom installs the entire app in the 'preinstall' script of the installer package! Inside there's a copy of '7z', and the app is extracted with that. The preinstall script is littered with typos and poor grammar.
I'm not one of those people who thinks that Apple is going to force all Mac software to come through the App Store, but when I see stuff this stupid...I start to wonder.
Very few people cared when I commented this https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=20398084
Suffice it to say, I no longer trust Zoom to be running in my regular user account. I have a separate user on my Mac to isolate it. If you have the means, you might even consider a spare computer or a VM to run Zoom.
Even their iOS/iPadOS app is annoying, because the first time you open it and sign in, it pops 3 (!) permission dialogs (Calendar, Notifications, and TouchID/FaceID). Way too aggressive IMO.
Now, if only they'd make a Mac App Store version of Zoom. I'd be so happy...
I do think on macOS the average user doesn't understand DMG files, run apps from inside the DMG instead of copying them to /Applications and deleting the disk image. My guess is that most people install Zoom after a meeting has started and this was the quickest, fewest dialog method of getting it up and running.
First, there's nothing wrong with that.
Also, some apps display a message asking to be moved to /Applications when launched from a DMG.
Sure, you can technically run .app from most places. It becomes problematic in that you can't write to that directory or self update the app if it's still in the DMG. If you reboot you have to know to remount before launching. Not having it in /Applications also becomes a mess if you're in a multi-user environment.
> Also, some apps display a message asking to be moved to /Applications when launched from a DMG.
This is the kind of friction and extra dialog boxes I'm sure they were avoiding.
Personally, I hate pkg files. I wish macOS had a better flow for unsavvy users to deal with DMG and app files.
So I can totally understand why they would want to use 7zip to shave kilobytes off the download size.
Honestly zoom is something that I would never let near a personal computer. What really surprised me is that there’s a “zoomgov.” (a friend at a defense contractor showed me) Either our government is enjoying the benefits of being able to force companies to be audited because of defense budgets or things have become way more relaxed than they should be. Judging by our “stockpiles” and inability to get critical equipment I’m guessing the second one.
...I was about to write a reply saying "well in that case I don't understand what the GP is complaining about", but then I opened up the installer again.
I didn't fully take in what the parent was saying. Zoom is completely short-circuiting the normal macOS package install flow. You click continue once to acknowledge that "this package will run a program to determine if the software can be installed", and then Zoom is suddenly installed and the installer exits.
I can understand why they did it, but it's not good.
Although, Apple deserves some blame here. Firstly because their non-app-store software install flow has been screwed up since the release of Lion, and secondly because why can't you use Installer's "Show Files" option before the preinstall step?
1. You download an installer.
2. You activate that installer.
3. Your system tells you that the installer can run some code.
4. You agree to the installer running some code.
5. The installer installs some software, via the code that you said the installer could run.
Seems perfectly acceptable to me. If you literally cannot open up the archive file to inspect its contents without running some code inside it, that's not Zoom's problem. It's just a really stupid decision on the part of Apple.
The message reads "this package will run a program _to determine if the software can be installed_". Old iWork updates used this to see you had a previous version of iWork on your computer. nVidia's Web Drivers used it to check if your Mac had an nVidia card. No other macOS pkg that I'm aware of makes actual changes made to your system during this step. That's not what the user agreed to.
Behind the consent message is a grayed-out "next" button that you never get to click.
I suppose this system was ripe for abuse, but that doesn't excuse the people who abuse it.
Pre-install scripts are only supposed to do things like check if you have prerequisites installed, eg if your app requires some version of Python or whatever.
Instead they are abusing that to just install everything immediately.
There is literally no reason for it beyond saving one or two clicks.
Also packages allow for easier deployment rather than dmg's.
Par for the course with Zoom, so it seems.
NVM I decided to inspect the package with `pkgutil`
Here's the offending code
mkdir -p "$InstallPath"
mkdir -p "$InstallPath/Frameworks"
if [[ $? != 0 ]] ; then
rm -rf "$InstallPath"
if [[ -d "$1/zoom.us.app" ]] ; then
rm -f "$1/zoom.us.app/Contents/Info.plist"
mv "$1/zoom.us.app/Contents" "$InstallPath/trash"
if [[ $? != 0 ]] ; then
rm -rf "$InstallPath"
rm -rf "$1/zoom.us.app"
if [[ $? != 0 ]] ; then
rm -rf "$InstallPath"
mdfind 'kMDItemCFBundleIdentifier == "us.zoom.xos"'> .zoom.us.applist.txt
echo "["$(date)"]un7z zm.7z =================================" >>"$LOG_PATH"
if [[ -f res.7z ]] ; then
./7zr x -mmt ./res.7z -o"$InstallPath/Frameworks"&
if [[ -f resReitna.7z ]] ; then
./7zr x -mmt ./resReitna.7z -o"$InstallPath/Frameworks"&
if [[ -f bundles.7z ]] ; then
./7zr x -mmt ./bundles.7z -o"$InstallPath/Frameworks"&
un7zresult=$(./7zr x -mmt ./zm.7z -o"$InstallPath" 2>>"$LOG_PATH")
echo "["$(date)"]check un7z return:$ret, $un7zresult">>"$LOG_PATH"
echo "["$(date)"]un7z all finished">>"$LOG_PATH"
if [[ $ret != 0 ]] ; then
rm -rf "$InstallPath"
mv "$InstallPath/Frameworks/"* "$InstallPath/zoom.us.app/Contents/Frameworks">>"$LOG_PATH"
mv "$InstallPath/zoom.us.app" "$1" >>"$LOG_PATH"
if [[ $? != 0 ]] ; then
rm -rf "$InstallPath"
if [[ "$APP_PATH" == "$GLOBAL_APP_PATH" ]] ; then
chmod -R 775 "$APP_PATH"
chown -R :admin "$APP_PATH"
echo "["$(date)"]mv $InstallPath/zoom.us.app into $1">>"$LOG_PATH"
rm -rf "$InstallPath"&
Whenever I have been told that I have a meeting coming up with some kind of conferencing software that I don't have installed, I immediately install it. I don't wait until 3 minutes before the call to try and install. All kinds of things could happen, such as incompatibilities or missing passcodes.
So for now Skype and MS Teams works fine, or at least fine enough that I don't bother with Zoom. Which brings me to a side question: what is the value proposition for Zoom? What does their product do so much better than the others that I'd put up with this shit? Why am I hearing the hell out of it lately? Outstanding PR department?
EDIT: thanks for your answers to “why use it, then?” Because “it just works” seems to be the summary, which hoo boy, one cannot say about a lot of the competition.
I'll share my perspective as an academic. Many of us have adopted Zoom, practically overnight, for our teaching, for one-on-one meetings with students, and even for conferences .
The answer is: It just works. It's easy. It does what we want it to, with a minimum of fuss.
As someone who now has a whole bunch of unanticipated shit to deal with, this is one less thing to worry about.
I definitely share your objection in principle. If this situation continues long into the future (a terrifying thought), then perhaps I'll revisit my choice of software. But in the short term, to be honest, I don't much care.
I've actually found the opposite to be true. Google Meet is an example of a product that just works. Zoom, by contrast, pushes you very heavily into downloading and installing an application on every device you want to use it with, and provides a secondary degraded experience in the browser if you find the right link to use it (which you have to do EVERY SINGLE TIME; there doesn't seem to be a way to permanently opt out of the "install this application" nag flow).
We have Hangouts Meet free at work, available for every single meeting with a single click. Zoom is also quietly available, but we're disincentivized to use it, because the company has to pay extra. We have to jump through hoops to get access. Yet since the COVID WFH revolution, Zoom is becoming more and more widespread. Because, as a VC solution, it just works, and works noticeably better than Hangouts Meet.
Outside the one or two time app install (depending how many devices the user has) Zoom actually has everything you need to get a meeting done. Need a multi user whiteboard? There. Need to have someone control someone elses stuff? There. Need to hold a large meeting and have one at a time raise hand questions? There. Most importantly these don't get in the way of "need to just talk with someone else" being there and just working as well.
No meeting app is perfect for everybody but Meet lacks a lot of flexibility to get it's simplicity and it's not all that much simpler than Zoom for it.
Unfortunately if you go with the suggested methods for using zoom, it is very easy to join a meeting
Of course "it just works" is a subjective, personal opinion.
I wrote a browser plugin to do this:
Anyway, thanks for the link. It didn't even occur to me to look for something like that.
"Starting this week, we will begin rolling out free access to our advanced Hangouts Meet video-conferencing capabilities to all G Suite and G Suite for Education customers globally including:
- Larger meetings, for up to 250 participants per call
- Live streaming for up to 100,000 viewers within a domain
- The ability to record meetings and save them to Google Drive " 
Zoom definitely has better crowd control (for lack of a better term) than Meet does. Meet does have some relatively unused but helpful features though like the questions that you can ask as an audience member and upvote others' questions. Can be very helpful in a lecture.
Edit. Add reference, quote.
I also think accounts are a friction. Even though we all used Google services, with Zoom if I needed to hop onto my phone so I could listen in while running an errand I would have needed to authenticate if I was using Meet. I also don't think I've ever been in a Google video chat with more than 2 people. With Zoom we did company meetings without issue.
Wonder why this is apparently not working? I don't pay for gmail. I'm not using it in a domain.
I think the real reason is "it's just what everyone else was doing." All of these apps "just work," as someone who has used a veritable gaggle let me tell you there's scarce difference between them. Except zoom makes it more difficult to join without the app (others work in the browser outright, zoom tricks you into installing).
Zoom I think just happens to be one of the trendiest. But with this kind of behavior there's really no reason to use them.
I can't speak for others. But for me, using Zoom is really because it worked better than everything else I'd tried (Skype, Google Hangouts, WebEx, rolling my own SIP server). That was parts: Linux software reliability (WebEx, Skype), limits on the number of people that could join meetings (Hangouts), and effort to talk my collaborators into installing new software (SIP+Jitsi). A bonus is that my employer had an institutional Zoom account. I've been happily using Zoom for 2-3 years now. I'm unhappy about these privacy issues that are being discovered/discussed now and I kinda feel like I should have looked into it. I'm sure there is a bandwagon effect happening, but there was also a real component of it working better than other solutions.
Honestly, I didn't know that there was in-browser capabilities. The last time I used jitsi was via the java desktop client, probably 3-4 years ago. It was a year or so later that I started using Zoom, so I didn't revisit jitsi.
At my new company they wanted to pay a license to use zoom. I asked why don't we just use meetings for free? The answer was it makes us look professional. That's where zoom is. There are dozens are alternatives.
What you're saying is basically a form of 'works on my machine'.
We were all over the world and using Mac/Win/Linux. So latency was high and bandwidth was often narrow. We also did company meetings every month or so. We pushed in a bunch of different directions. Often apps are only good at one or two of these scenarios, but Zoom was good enough at all of them.
I had no clue until this week there was a web version, but after using all of the others I'm glad it heavily prefers a standalone app. I do wish they had less scummy practices or there were better alternatives.
for me, i think this is key. I've used skype, hangouts, and gotomeeting over the years. only zoom works this well, multi-platform, including my fave, linux, in all sorts of conditions.
i wish this wasn’t so, and that we had good cross-platform solutions. :(
I'm sure part of this is due to it being a native app.
Once a user is over the hiccup of "download and install this," being able to hop into a call immediately without much mucking about with audio and video settings seems consistently better with Zoom.
I guess I'd like to know the details of how its easier than the other of myriad of products on the market for you?
At my company we use Slack Video calls, WebEx, and Zoom, and they seem as identical as each other (I'd argue Slack is easiest since we're all logged into it all the time, but that's us).
webex quality is very bad for 35+ active participants.
Teams etc. have very bad quality during this crisis induced load.
lots of the solutions currently are barely working (google with only bad quality, others don’t have working phone call in etc.
Zoom just keeps working, for everyone.
to put this into perspective: that’s mostly for uses cases beyond 3ppl or 2+ countries, so i’d guess 90% of the users of all tools are unaffected.
Our Zoom THM with 130 participants ran without any issues whatsoever. I'm stunned how flawlessly they seam to scale. I want to work with the people responsible for this tbh.
We regularly have milestone meetings at a custommer with 300 people joining with the normal setup where everyone can join the conversation, never had any problems with zoom.
let’s see how they exploit it financially after so much free marketing. no evil or not ;)
So sure, if you're all already in slack it's ok. But my five year old niece isn't in a slack team already, nor my in-laws.
Or you know - send over my zoom meeting room number - and done.
Slack removed screen sharing, which means I can't easily do screen sharing and debugging on the same call.
WebEx and G2M are much less easy to use.
It used to be a feature, and then they removed it.
I haven't comparison shopped yet. And, for that matter, I haven't initiated any Zoom meeting myself, except once when someone else requested I do so. (I used Blackboard to meet with my classes.) I just noticed that it's been popular with others, and I've gotten it up and running with no effort.
I am trying out MS Teams, but it's a pain to setup. Multiple emails back and forth to tech support, and apparently I have to go in and manually add every person I want included. From what I can tell, it seems to be designed around a rather elaborate setup, in a situation where you consistently communicate with the same handful of people.
With Zoom, it's "click on this link". You don't have to have configured anything in advance. Especially useful when you want your meetings to be open.
As an example, you can now watch the Number Theory Seminar at MIT, live:
(The password is there to prevent trolling, but there's no serious need for security.)
Zoom is well known, so people are likely to try it early in the process. If it works they may choose to move on to other things. This may not be the perfect process in the abstract, but in reality it's practical.
I only started using Zoom now and it solves a lot of my problems: virtual backgrounds while talking to students in my bedroom, recording my lectures, handling large live streams (50+ people), painless set up for non-tech-savvy users.
The only problem I had is that it would corrupt sound from my mic about every hour in a 4 hour stream.
They will be successful, but in part because other chose not to be.
I’m not casting any aspersions here, I’m only interested in comparing notes with a fellow teacher.
1 to 1's are totally common and accepted in a university setting. You're generally supposed to leave your office door open (when having them in person), but otherwise this doesn't raise any eyebrows.
Safeguarding is a term used in the United Kingdom and Ireland to denote measures to protect the health, well-being and human rights of individuals, which allow people — especially children, young people and vulnerable adults — to live free from abuse, harm and neglect.
In general it's not considered a risk because their parents are usually nearby if not actually on the call.
> Mathematics (assistant) professor at the University of South Carolina.
In undergrad 1 to 1 also happens, but they are less frequent.
Do the students not care?
Zoom seems VERY focused on making stuff easy to use.
They clearly are doing things like installing in user folders etc to get around organization "protections". Same thing with the crazy web server launcher. Yes - creates privacy / security risks but also made things marginally easier. Same with the Facebook SDK integration etc. They are going for ease of use FIRST.
HN is treating zoom as if it's some devil software. Part of the REASON for it's success (vs the fully end to end encrypted offerings etc) is because it DOESN'T emphasize security / privacy, it can be installed in a shadow IT manner etc.
That is why it is successful.
This sounds right to me.
Last week on Zoom, I attended an online conference (https://www.daniellitt.com/agonize/), and participated in a D+D game. Privacy and security weren't priorities. (Indeed, complete video of the conference has since been posted.)
That said, there have been problems, see for example here:
Some random trolls apparently joined a Zoom class and made jackasses of themselves.
Privacy is not a synonym for security. It's not even necessarily a requirement for good security.
Yes unfortunately. Mouses would be better off caring for mouse traps.
> That is why it is successful.
Successful for them but not for us as a community in the long run.
What makes you so sure?
You can set your own meeting room to be join-able BY ANYONE with an ID that DOES NOT CHANGE. Terrible security - great convenience.
Business and educators get feedback if students etc are using other programs other than zoom while on call. TERRIBLE for privacy (zoom tracking which windows are foreground etc) - nice convenience for teachers and bosses who like this.
At every turn, zoom has emphasized things like this.
If you're a Comp Sci or Engineering prof you really have an obligation to try harder. You have the capability to explain mitigation techniques (virtual machines, sandboxing, using temporary email addresses, VPNs).
Longer term I think we will see a host of Zoom competitors, because really there is nothing special in the client. Hangouts in particular could easily eclipse it with some work.
Also, I think the grid of faces approach is just awful. Many people have been working on VR meeting systems which have significant advantages for multiperson communication (i.e. discussion vs broadcast). Lecture/theatre VTC (which provides an aggregated feedback signal to the presenter) is completely unmet by Zoom. So once we're past the hump the field will broaden, and at that point the privacy requirements have to be enforced rigourously.
Both in high school and college I used PLENTY of stuff that I didn't want to and was never provided "alternatives" if I didn't consent. Seriously, endpoint protection products centrally controlled with total system access control are not uncommon in these settings.
You are claiming I can opt out of all of this if it invades my privacy?
The school had a third party vendor that tracked every keycard access to every lock on campus - I'd def like to opt out of that!
Of course, if the schooling is voluntary; either private K-12 or any collegiate level, then you just have to play by their rules or go home. Someone could definitely bring the case against a state K-12 requiring Zoom use though, were they properly paranoid, motivated, and funded.
You are, of course, welcome to opt out, but there is -- as you suggest -- no requirement for a school or employer to provide an alternative.
Is this actually better from a privacy perspective? Sounds like abandoning the frying pan for the fire...
From a technical perspective I don't think anything groundbreaking is required, it just wasn't a market segment earning money before now, because why not just walk down the hall, or have a conference etc? Noone is saying a Zoom meeting can replace that, it is just a stop gap.
Then why hasn't it, despite far more work and funding than Zoom, for over a decade?
This is a "I could have invented Facebook" comment. Things are
harder than you suggest.
Also I've done 300+ participant A/V conferencing systems, it isn't the client part that is hard, its the authentication, directory and latency that becomes difficult, and google already has that pretty well sorted.
I am prioritizing. During the present COVID-19 situation, my top two priorities are (1) maintain my health, including my mental health, and refrain from posing a health hazard to others, and (2) maintain my relationships with my students, colleagues, and collaborators.
As I see it, if I give some skeezy private company some personal information by accident, then I am making a personal sacrifice, and not all that big of one. I'm trying to worry about my duties to others first.
You're normalizing it and making your students use it though, so it's really not "it affects me, but I don't care enough", it affects others as well. And let's not kid ourselves: once it's established, nobody will switch to something else, because they'd have to explain and guide everyone they want to talk to to install another app etc.
I live in France. Overnight schools were closed and the existing school platforms are a joke.
Beside the fact that they crashed, there is no interactivity built in.
So as a parent of two children I would have been delighted if the teachers switched immediately to Zoom or Discord and I truly do not give a fuck (not that I do not care, I do not give a fuck) about privacy and whatnot when it comes to middle age history or derivatives.
This is this, or me having two jobs.
So except if the software keeps on spying after it is switched off (which would be unacceptable) they can use Zoom or whatever if the teaching process is maintained.
If the teacher asked me to install The Catholic Video Conferencing System my only question would be where to get the msi from. (again provided that there is no spying afterwards)
This is really kind of funny, because this exact thing happened literally less than a year ago. It was technically a vulnerability, but they refused to see it as such and fix it until it was disclosed publicly and they had a wave of negative PR. They literally allowed anyone to connect to the webcam on your computer through an always-on server which remained installed after you removed Zoom from your computer. https://medium.com/bugbountywriteup/zoom-zero-day-4-million-...
I can't believe everyone has forgotten this quickly. Zoom is not a trustworthy company.
What they did is a shame. I do not know yet whether to attribute it to malice, sloppiness, immaturity, or a combination of the above.
Your second point I disagree with; I think if people raise objections, encourage people to switch, and volunteer to shepherd others through the technical details -- then people will be agreeable, and we'll see a shift which will gradually become pervasive.
It can change rapidly in small communities, e.g. you getting everyone in your department together, deciding on $goodAlternative and using that whenever possible (in addition to Zoom, because you'll still have to communicate with the outside world). But at large?
This doesn't square with any experience I've ever had trying to get $alternative_technology adopted because of $principle in favor of $default_thing, and from what I've gleaned talking to others, and reading the experiences of others online, the problem isn't me.
Maybe post Cambridge Analytica the world has changed -- I at least don't get looked at like I have three heads when I tell people I'm not on Facebook anymore -- but if folks are still responding to complaints about privacy issues like this with what amounts to "meh, don't have the energy" then I'm skeptical. If zoom becomes "the standard," I don't think the inertia will be much easier to overcome.
As soon as something goes wrong with your solution - everyone goes, why aren't we using zoom. Literally totally non-techies - that will be their first bit of feedback (I tried to go with google hangouts).
Your answer sort of reads as if the choice of technology is the only friction people are currently dealing with. The situation isn't easy, even using some easy to use technology like zoom. Adding friction will only make things harder for people doing their best in already hard circumstances. It may well exceed their mental budget for friction.
I wish widely deployed privacy-respecting solutions were already deployed at scale, people trained in their use and a suitable curriculum available. But that's not where we are and putting more load on already well loaded people will not improve the situation.
It asks the question "What is the point of a principle?"
I dont think calling privacy a principle is true if you are willing to give it up for something that "just works" - I believe covid is likely one of the biggest problems in the modern age, but during times of hardship we need to cling ever harder to our principles, or consider that maybe it isn't nearly as important to us as we thought.
Preface or not, it still reads like that. You're extolling one principle. I entirely agree that privacy is important but should be upheld. But there are other conflicting principles at work here - the list here is in no way complete.
* The right to privacy.
* The right of pupils to receive an education
* The right of teachers to limit the amount of work and energy they need to put into their work.
* The right of teachers and pupils (and the general public) to stay at home and evade infection.
And that's why your absolutism on one principle to me still reads flip - or at least ill considered - even if you preface it with "I don't want to be flip."
* The right of teachers to monitor their students activities during class.
(Also: Your list is unreadable due to the use of code no-wrap formatting. Please don't use code indents for blockquoted normal text.)
Yes, a rational person does. You're thinking of dogma. People don't give up their dogmas when the costs outweigh its reasonable benefits because holding onto their belief system is practically infinitely valuable.
Dogmas are hard boundaries. Principles are guiding factors. Sacrificing privacy as a principle in the midst of a global pandemic is perfectly fine in most cases. It's still a guiding factor, but it's of lower priority than competing interests.
Or maybe people has different principle.
We haven't seen a Zoom log found in an open S3 bucket yet, or a leak via fb, but experience says that it is only a matter of time.
So if you're going to mandate Zoom, own the risk. Mitigation is possible: provide recorded streams for secured download (if safe/ethical/notified to record other participants!); provide a work laptop with a non-identifying config instead of a BYOD; many other options.
The consequence of getting on a school bus can be life or death. The consequence of eating a peanut butter sandwich can be life or death.
If you’re a medical professional or psychiatrist, maybe you shouldn’t use zoom due it’s privacy record. But if you’re teaching a lecture on linked lists to your class of 30 kids, death via persecution should probably be very low on your considerations when choosing video conference tech.
Frankly I find your comment dismissive of the real threats faced by women and minorities.
I know math lectures don't seem a hot spot, but it's a slippery slope of adoption, and you might be surprised about the depth of harassment problems in the math community.
If you are going that way then likewise, there is always someone somewhere could die because the software doesn't work because they prioritize privacy.
Beside, The reason we have growing acceptance for the LGBT is because of the openness and transparency. That won't happen if we have perfect privacy.
Yes is true that leak is only matter of time, so its even more infeasible to maintain privacy. The solution should be to assume information is public as much as we can and fix the issue that arise from that.
If you could post your real name, address, phone number, email, sexual orientation, religion, employment status, performance review, salary, hobbies, political viewpoints etc we can get started processing your revocation of privacy.
Oh you didn't realise your boss was having meetings with HR over Zoom? Sorry, we can't have different rules for some.
Oh and you'll start seeing ads for '5 step sobreity' now since we see you were in the local AA Zoom. Sorry about not getting that new job -- that company ticked the 'no addicts' flag in the selection matrix, and, well, the job market is kinda competitive now.
I have actually voluntarily shared pretty much everything on your list publicly at some point. Even then the important part is that it was my choice to do so, and there’s still a number of things I will not freely share.
Eventually yes, I would prefer that I don't have to keep secret of all of those information but I can't because not everyone is.
>Oh and you'll start seeing ads for '5 step sobreity' now since we see you were in the local AA Zoom. Sorry about not getting that new job -- that company ticked the 'no addicts' flag in the selection matrix, and, well, the job market is kinda competitive now
If a company choose not to hire addict than its their choice, its their lost.
And I should add that I'm trying out MS Teams as an alternative. After six days, and multiple e-mails back and forth with our IT department, I think I've almost got it set up properly.
Accept it, and you'll be happier.
It seems that Zoom is the only popular videoconferencing software these days that allows you to disable all the postprocessing on the audio signal (echo cancellation, noise reduction, etc) through advanced settings. This postprocessing is very useful for /conversation/ meetings among many people with bad audio setups, but for two musicians and music signals, the postprocessing is highly detrimental, causing strange audio artifacts and causing instruments to drop out sporadically.
(It seems like there would be a market for videoconferencing software optimized for musicians, where the audio signal is sent at higher quality, given higher priority, and not postprocessed in detrimental ways. And without all the privacy concerns.)
I've been doing videoconferencing for over 30 years (Yes, they had it back then -we used PictureTel systems, over ISDN).
I regularly participate in Zoom meetings with 20 or more attendees. I know of ones that have over 400.
An amazing thing to me, is that technophobes can pick up on it very easily. Very little of that pre-meeting "Mute your mike!", "Can you hear me?", "Whose dog is that?", tons of texts, asking for help, etc, stuff.
Skype is very bad for more than a small handful of attendees.
WebEx and GoToMeeting are OK, I guess, and I've heard good things about BlueJeans.
But Zoom is what I use, and Zoom is very popular with people that suddenly need to gather, and can't do so, physically.
GoToMeeting has had a banner up for the past few days asking people not to dial in on time for their meetings, because they can't handle the current load. My company uses GTM for everything, but there have been problems. We'll probably switch to Zoom.
If you don't want a third party getting your contact information, then use a private solution that's actually private. Jitsi and Matrix are open source solutions that both support video conferencing.
I use Teams at work and would say it is comparable to Zoom in terms of AV quality (Microsoft owns both Skype and Teams portfolios, but Teams is built on a modern codebase that runs on different, markedly superior infra than Skype). Unfortunately Teams only works in the enterprise (O365), and it is still fairly new so it doesn't have a lot of the collab functionality like whiteboarding and breakout rooms that Zoom has.
Privacy issues aside, Zoom really is a better product. People are more forgiving of a product's peccadillos when it just works.
Hard to justify moving from zoom to ms teams when Microsoft have shown they don’t care about privacy either.
For me, it's one of the few video chat clients that works well in Linux. Skype may or may not work depending on the version and whether or not Microsoft supports the Linux client. And I have no idea whether MS teams works at all in Linux.
I am using it in chromium on linux, and I can tell you it does not just work. The audio is really really shit (constant crackling). I'm basically unable to attend meetings on zoom. Luckily most of them are in google meet which works fine in a browser.
You know, even two hours ago I'd have agreed with you, but my thinking is evolving.
It's pretty clear from responses in this thread that there is a quality difference between Zoom and Hangouts/Slack/Teams/etc, at least under certain circumstances. In addition, anecdotal reports are that if you do insist on joining Zoom via a web browser (even though their user flow really pushes you not to), Zoom's quality goes down a lot.
So perhaps the reason Zoom is superior is because of its native app. Whereas Slack and Teams's apps are just Electron clients that use WebRTC, Zoom is doing something truly custom. It seems to be paying dividends.
Not everything has to run in a web browser.
Very true, and not everything should run in a web browser.
But if something is going to run outside the browser, I would like some explanation of why.
Everyone I know has switched to Zoom. It's a clear improvement in a technical sense than all the existing options out there. We're trying to do our jobs, not make a statement and end up embarrassing ourselves professionally.
So no Zoom does not have to clean up its privacy act. Other companies need to improve their software on a technical level to be more reliable and be more optimized. It's ridiculous that companies who supposedly have amazing developers like Google, Slack, Microsoft, Facebook, can't even do teleconferencing well.
PS: You don't have to download a program -- it has an online version.
They push their client so hard it's not at all surprising OP thought it was required. I would have assumed as much if I hadn't read otherwise. They don't even show you the link to join via web until after you've told them that the download isn't working.
And given what I'm reading about the quality of their web client, there may be a reason they're so pushy...
I think we can cut them some slack for now as they are under more pressure then many other tech companies. They managed to make a great product - so presumably they'll be able to build the right processes for the company itself soon too.
Does Zoom have ads? I haven't seen any. I believe all of the ad tracking is for the reverse: Zoom wants to see if their own advertising is effective. For example, if they buy an ad on Facebook that you saw and then you install the app, they can attribute the install to that ad and measure ROI.
Delete according to world-view.
They will never not do that. Paying customer or not, no business is ever going to say "let's give up a huge amount of revenue so we can avoid invading people's privacy and annoying them with ads they don't want to see". To do so would be to miss an opportunity to make even more money.
The fact you're a paying customer also implies you have disposable income and you're willing to spend it. Ironically, paying money to avoid advertising makes your attention even more valuable to advertisers.
The only way they'll stop advertising is if it's not profitable. The only solution is to block all ads and reduce their return on investment as much as possible.
Some companies do this and capitalize on it by advertising it.
It only makes sense if you make the unsupported leap in logic that says that the cash price is itself promise to not use analytics. But you are willing to accept $0 adalytics-supported products, and FOSS exists and some has adalytics and some doesnt, showing that $0 is not any kind of meaningful boundary.
Good PR helps too, I suppose.
Personally I haven't seen many people offer up alternatives that are clear winners. They all have tradeoffs. Since there's tradeoffs I have a hard time moving people to some other direction. If I could says, "Oh Zoom is nice, but Schmooz is the best!" I know people who'd make the move. Even if it's paid.
Energy consumption. Half hour hangouts drains 30% of battery 3 hours zoom is roughly 5-10%. UX and performance the two major factors why we chose Zoom.
My company's virtual meeting solutions are a mess; it's the one really messy area in our tooling. For the longest time we had GoTo, but then the dev team specifically also had hipchat for Slack-like interactions. Then hipchat went away, and for some reason the org took that as a cue to do an org-wide rollout of MS Teams, with no approval for us to use Slack. Somewhere along the way certain people somehow acquired Zoom licenses and started using those. Then just about two weeks ago the whole org was told to switch to Zoom, but now not enough people have licenses and all the old GoTo licenses are kaput.
Anyways, the reason I have heard various people from the business side give for why they like Zoom is "GoTo was too hard to use." I don't really see that, and I also wonder if there's some sort of 'FOMO' going on. A couple big vendors we interact with use Zoom, Zoom is big in the news currently -- "everybody uses Zoom!" I do also think it's maybe a bit cheaper at enterprise scale.
I don't mind Zoom from a UX/call quality perspective. I think Alt-A to unmute is super unintuitive but that's a very minor quibble, and for all I know shortcuts are customizable. I am, however, very discouraged by Zoom's privacy story as we're discussing here.
As my own side note, I am generally on board with almost everything MS has been doing lately -- we're mostly a MS shop as they help us with pricing, given we're a nonprofit, while AWS told us 'no chance' -- but Teams has to be the single buggiest MS product I've ever used. Just now, over the past month or so, I've noticed it very slowly improving. But for the first year of our usage, we experienced constant issues. Dropped calls, silent crashes, daily sync failures. My favorite one was, every time I would shut down Teams, it would relaunch itself a few seconds later with a message saying "sorry, Teams has crashed, we're recovering." Apparently every time the program received a shutdown msg it just assumed "oops, another crash."
Sadly, this happens everywhere. Verizon and ATT? Selling your location and data usage patterns for years.
Bank accounts and credit cards? Selling your purchase patterns for decades.
PS- I hate misuse of my data as much as the next person.
Skype is terrible some days. Google hangouts is OK. Cisco Webx is dead in the water every time I have tried to use it.
Maybe I just haven't used Zoom enough as the other two do have good days and bad days.
FaceTime is the only serious competitor I can think of that's able to deliver as quality of a call experience in a 1:1 setting with non-technical participants, but it's inaccessible on Windows/Android for starters, and lacks the presentation chops to be used in a business setting.
I agree with your sentiment though - it makes me angry that they're selling my personal data. But sadly I don't think that any companies will voluntarily be non-skeezy...we really need laws and regulations in this space. I don't trust capitalism to take care of my privacy. If companies can get more money without breaking the law, they will absolutely do so.
Meanwhile, my company's VOIP acting funny. Conference calls not working. My wife was having issues with skype.
Yes, there are alternatives out there, but i'm yet to see one that is easy to use and reliable in the same way.
Why would Zoom care about their privacy issues if they're doing so well off? Seems like that's a good amount of positive reinforcement that their current approach is the right one to them. Maybe they'll lose a few thousand customers because of it, but given what I'm sure was a huge increase in the past few weeks, why would it be something they're concerned about?
Slack's business model  is storing all history and charging for access for it. Nothing transient about that.
On the free tier it's still there, on their servers.
With our own product ZeroTier we get maybe 1-2 questions a year about privacy and so far only a few enterprise customers have even asked about the security of encryption and authentication. "It's encrypted" is good enough for 99.9% of the market. Encrypted with what? A cereal box cipher? Nobody cares.
What do people care about? In my experience its ease of use, ease of use, ease of use, ease of use, and ease of use, in no particular order. An app that's a privacy and security dumpster fire but is very easy to set up and use will win hands down over a better engineered one that requires even one or two more steps to set up.
Might be because our clients are banks but they really care about this stuff.
It's why your banker might use their cell phone for a zoom client when everyone else is on a computer - their work computer is locked down. Govt employees often the same way. You'll notice they are doing the phone call in or phone client vs their computer.
Lot's of companies, zoom included, get in through the user side not the big webex / cisco type sales process.
It's very very hard to lock down a network without drastically impacting productivity, especially if you have any kind of science, design, or development going on.
I kid you not - obviously they had a deal on faxing for like 50% off, but it was still SUPER timeconsuming and pretty expensive.
Anyways, I configured one of their state of the art copiers to allow them to securely scan to users local folders. I set permissions dropbox style (upload, list but no read / download / delete). It was like I was a god briefly. Then someone in IT found out and the party ended big time.
Realize this isn't that long ago - we are talking some orgs / IT departments are SERIOUSLY retro. I could tell many funny stories (and some sad ones) about folks working around the IT department.
Another common IT workaround was that if a device was not on approved list (basically everything except some junky low bid stuff and definitely no no macs / no ipads) and you had a need (ie marketing / media department wanted to do something with kids shooting and editing video as a feel good, and ipads were great for that and the offical machines sucked) is they would hire a consultant to help them edit, and then put a procurement for the equipment through the consulting bill. Consultant got to mark it all up, but it didn't have to go through the IT purchasing process where ipad's were banned. Was time consuming but I saw it work.
Anyways, I know EXACTLY the type of org who buys these expensive video conferencing systems that fall over when you need them!
Why would people ask you that? You already put the answers in the public documentation.
The question is "why should Zoom leadership care about the recent privacy concerns if the vast majority of their customers don't care?"
Their stock is up over 6% today while the market is down 4% (volatility caveats here obviously). So far the privacy concerns don't seem to be impacting the companies short or long term prospects, so I wouldn't expect the company to do the right thing.
Hoping zoom and other companies prioritize the public good over profits is foolish, and the solution is to align profits with the public good.
It's a lot like someone complaining about Trump being elected, and you respond with "Yeah, but we live in a Democracy". It's not a very helpful comment, and it doesn't get us anywhere except to keep us in the exact same place we are today.
>It's not a very helpful comment
I would think understanding the problem would be the first step to solving it. I'm not sitting here pretending I have all the answers. I saw an opportunity to shed some light on the situation so I commented. It seems weird to me that your critical of me for not contributing thoughts related directly to a solution, when you haven't contributed any thoughts about a solution either.
To each their own I suppose. But consider me thoroughly uninterested in discussing this further, which, seems to be what you wanted from me anyway.