Zoom's new security feature lets users stop data flowing through China

Zoom will now let users opt-in and out of specific data centre regions as they conduct video meetings around the world.

The update comes in response to concerns data from meetings is sometimes being routed through China, which critics argued was a security risk.

Zoom said its centres in the country have ‘always been’ geofenced, meaning data generated outside of China would not move through the country. However, chief executive Eric Yuan admitted that in the rush to meet demand during the coronavirus lockdown some best practices were not implemented and some meeting data may have been routed through China.

Mr Yuan said this issue had since been corrected.

Now, the company has said it will allow its paying subscribers to directly choose which data centre regions are happy for their meeting data to transit through.

The firm currently has eight data centre regions: the United States, Canada, Europe, India, Australia, China, Latin America, and Japan/Hong Kong.

From April 18, every paying Zoom user will be able to opt-in and out of each specific region, the company confirmed.

However, users will not be able to opt-out of their default region, where their account is provisioned, Zoom said, adding that for the majority of customers, this was the United States.

The company also said that free users will be locked to data centres within their default region and will not be able to opt-in or out of others, but that ‘data of free users outside of China will never be routed through China’.

The video conferencing app has grown exponentially during the Covid-19 lockdown as millions of workers and students attempt to stay connected for jobs and study, while family and friends have turned to Zoom and similar apps as a means of staying in touch.

Zoom has admitted struggling to handle waves of new users on the service and has now postponed all new product development in order to focus on correcting security issues discovered on the platform, some of which have come to light thanks to the new, wider use of the service.

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