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School districts reportedly ban Zoom over security issues

The New York City Department of Education told teachers to switch to Microsoft Teams, according to Chalkbeat.

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Some school districts are stopping remote teaching through Zoom.

Sarah Tew/CNET

School districts are apparently banning their teachers from using Zoom to teach remotely in the midst of the coronavirus outbreak, citing security and privacy issues surrounding the videoconferencing app. New York City's Department of Education urged schools to switch to Microsoft Teams "as soon as possible," Chalkbeat reported.

Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza wanted teachers to "gradually transition" to another service, the education-focused outlet noted. In an emailed statement, Zoom said it's "in continued dialogue" with school districts to keep using its service.

"We are proud of the role we are playing during this challenging time and proactively engaging to make sure schools and other new users understand how to best use the platform," a Zoom spokesperson said. "Zoom is committed to providing educators with the tools and resources they need on a safe and secure platform."

Nevada's Clark County Public Schools disabled Zoom access, according to the Washington Post, while schools in Utah and Washington state are reassessing its use.

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The video meeting app's security has come into focus in recent days, from its tattle-tale attention-tracking feature to uninvited attendees "Zoom-bombing" meetings. New York Attorney General Letitia James sent a letter demanding action from the company, while security researchers discovered bugs that might let hackers seize control of webcams and microphones on Zoom users' Macs.

Instagram, Twitter, Reddit and 4Chan are being used to encourage people to share information that'd allow the hijacking of Zoom calls, prompting the FBI to issue a warning about the practice.

Last Wednesday, Zoom CEO Eric Yuan outlined his plan to address the security issues in the next 90 days, and noted that daily meeting participants ballooned from 10 million in December to 200 million in March as the outbreak forced people to stay and work from home.

The New York City Department of Education didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.