Zoom will allow users to route traffic beyond China

Chinese hacker

Zoom customers will be able to choose which data centre regions their account can use for transmission of real-time meeting traffic, meaning that traffic now doesn’t need to be routed through China.

From 18 April, administrators and account owners of paid-for Zoom accounts can either opt-in or opt-out of a specific data centre region across the world, giving more control over how their traffic flows.

The data of free users outside of China, moreover, will never be routed through China, with these users locked into data centres within their default region in which their account has been established.

The platform change has been implemented following a period of sustained criticism levelled towards the company for security concerns as well as privacy risks with its now extremely popular video conferencing platform.

Last month, for example, it emerged that Zoom had been inadvertently sending a granular level of iOS users’ device data to Facebook through the mechanism of a sign-in integration. After this came to light, the company killed the integration and pledge to no longer transmit this data to the social media firm.

In light of countless other complaints, the company last week moved to hire former Facebook chief security officer (CSO) Alex Stamos in a freelance advisory capacity to boost the platform’s integrity and robustness.

The backlash against the company reached a nadir last week after a host of organisations announced they were banning employees from using the platform. Even Taiwan distributed a declaration prohibiting government agencies and public sector employees from using Zoom, becoming the first country to ban the platform.

This ban was issued for security reasons, although many have suggested that, reading between the lines, the severity of the move was motivated by the revelation that some Zoom traffic was inadvertently routed through China. Diplomatic ties between the two nations are frosty, given that China does not recognise Taiwan’s independence.

The swiftness by which Zoom has implemented changes to ensure traffic does not have to be routed through China, for both paid and free users, suggests the company is keen to mend its relationship with Taiwanese officials.

Paid-for Zoom users will be able to choose which data centre region their traffic is routed through, between the US, Canda, Europe, India, Australia, China, Latin America and Japan/Hong Kong.

Keumars Afifi-Sabet

Keumars Afifi-Sabet is a writer and editor that specialises in public sector, cyber security, and cloud computing. He first joined ITPro as a staff writer in April 2018 and eventually became its Features Editor. Although a regular contributor to other tech sites in the past, these days you will find Keumars on LiveScience, where he runs its Technology section.