OPINION: Amid cybersecurity concerns, Zoom is helping far more than harming

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Jeremy Davis
CONTRIBUTOR 

Despite the privacy issues Zoom has been dealing with, it is a great way for groups to stream online performances for those at home. Photo courtesy of Pexels.com

With Zoom and Skype making it easier for groups to meet during the pandemic, stay-at-home performances have been possible. This is great that we have figured out how to do performances from home such as church services and shows like Saturday Night Live. How are these performances compared to regular performances?

Once it was pretty much known by all that we would be spending Easter in quarantine, it was causing some to wonder how to still have church services. Some churches have decided to keep their doors open to have services despite the government asking places to close and limit the number of people in attendance.

Other churches have decided host virtual services. This has presented some wonderful virtual meetings where even the band and the choir still perform. I think it is a great way to meet as everyone is still staying home to stay healthy, but they are still able to perform together. It is inspiring seeing these groups come together to sing their hearts out.

One of the hardest parts of staying quarantined is the feeling of isolation some people may be feeling. These online church services are helpful for people who are quarantined and even people who can’t leave their houses normally. I feel like recording services like this is good for people to watch long term. Everyone was able to join in church services and communicate with people in their community. If churches continue to do online services, it would be nice to see those communities be able to come together.

Saturday Night Live has also chosen to do a stay-at-home performance which was very different from their regular live performance but also very interesting. They even changed their intro to be everyone at home. SNL chose Tom Hanks to be the host of the stay-at-home episode, and I think it was a good way of getting to check up on Tom Hanks and see how he is doing, as he tested positive for COVID-19.

“It is a strange time to be funny but trying to be funny is ‘SNL’s’ whole thing, so we thought, what the heck let’s give it a shot,” Hanks said.

Sure, SNL didn’t feel the same, but they still presented enjoyable sketches on a smaller scale. They even did a sketch that was all about bad Zoom calls and staying quarantined. It was funny to see these people making light of an awful situation. You can check out all the skits on their YouTube channel or watch the full episodes on Hulu.

According to an article written by Drew Harwell, for The Washington Post, there are some concerns over Zoom’s programming code. Zoom uses certain techniques that could leave your computer wide open for breaches. Another issue brought by the article is the way people can record conversations without getting permission. Although this is a huge concern, for students who are just using Zoom for classes, having recorded classes is essential for those who can’t make it to the Zoom call.

These issues pose a risk to users, but many must understand Zoom did not see the pandemic coming and were not prepared for an influx in users. The company did come out and say they were stopping work on new features and working only on safety and privacy.

“The millions of Americans now unexpectedly attending school, celebrating birthdays, seeking medical help and sharing evening drinks with friends over Zoom during the coronavirus pandemic should not have to add privacy and cybersecurity fears to their ever-growing list of worries,”wrote Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn) when addressing Zoom.

It will be interesting to see if other people decided to do stay-at-home performances and how those would look. I think overall people are doing their best with the situation they were given. With no end in sight for the stay at home quarantine, it’s nice to know that we are still able to enjoy meeting with others online. It seems like many others are following SNL with stay-at -home performances. According to an article written by Susana Polo, for Polygon, the Sesame Street Muppets have been sent to puppeteers to start filming from home. The first episode is about finding new ways to learn together by using videoconferencing.

The privacy concerns are serious enough that the FBI have become involved to deal with several issues of people joining Zoom calls they were not invited to. The FBI asks users to keep meetings private and use the “waiting room” feature to screen users before they enter.

I think this is a good way to perform for future pandemics. If this were to happen again, we seem to have figured how to change our lives to make these dark times to go smoother. I think we will all go back to our regular lives when this is over, but it will probably take a while to reintegrate our old lifestyles.

Zoom has done a lot to help people during this time—allowing people to meet has made this whole stay-at-home quarantine achievable. Although there are some privacy concerns, it looks like Zoom’s team will be fixing them within a couple weeks. They were not prepared for so many users on their system and are still adjusting their system to benefit its users. If anything, hopefully these performances put a smile on people’s faces and make the quarantine easier.

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