Self isolation is the new norm, and in person meetings are now too dangerous to participate in for fears of becoming infected with the infamous COVID-19. So what is the next best thing to “meeting” without actually physically meeting? Virtual meetings, usually through video teleconferencing platforms such as “Zoom”.
Zoom today is being used in almost all situations, from court hearings, to school teachings, it is everywhere. As of today, Zoom’s stock is $150.26 USD… this time last year stocks were roughly $62.00 a share. The value of zoom has more than doubled… it seems everyone is on Zoom.
Given that Zoom is becoming an integral part of our lives, we need to be mindful of whether Zoom is all rainbows and butterflies, or whether it has a dark side.
Currently, Zoom is being sued for allegedly handing over a zoom users data to Facebook, without their permission. The lawsuit was filed in California in late March 2020, and the lawsuit alleges the following: “Upon installing or upon each opening of the Zoom App, Zoom collects the personal information of its users and discloses, without adequate notice or authorization, this personal information to third parties, including Facebook, Inc. (“Facebook”), invading the privacy of millions of users.”
So, if you have used Zoom at some point during this pandemic, it is likely that your information has been transmitted as well… you really cannot be certain if it has, or has not.
Are these video chat platforms dangerous? Can someone record the “zoomed” conversation? All very good questions, and the answer to both is yes. For paid subscribers, Zoom’s cloud recording feature is an option. If the feature is enabled on the account, a host can record the meeting along with its text transcription, and a text file of any active chats in that meeting. You may or may not realize that you are being recorded as a participant on the video chat. The recorded information can be saves to a cloud where it can later be accessed by others, whether they were originally part of the meeting or not. Administrators can limit the recording’s accessibility to only certain preapproved IP addresses, even if the recording has already been shared.
Have you heard of Zoom Bombing? It’s actually a thing…
Public school classes, Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, and other virtual gatherings have been interrupted by hackers or trolls who have done some pretty obscene things. Those successful in disrupting sessions have posted video footage of those incidents to sharing platforms such as TikTok and YouTube.
FBI Warns the public about Zoom…
The FBI as of March 30, 2020 released a warning informing the public that there have been several reports of video teleconferencing hacking (“zoom-bombing”) that has been taking place world wide. The FBI report states that the FBI has received multiple reports of conferences being disrupted by pornographic and/or hate images and threatening language.
According to Forbes, Zoom recently announced a 90-day freeze on new operations to focus on fixing the problems at hand.
Different ways that Zoom hosts are able to better secure a Zoom chat:
- Require a password for those that are signing into the meeting. NO PASSWORD – NO ENTRY. In the alternative, the admin can create a waiting room feature and control who comes into the meeting and who cannot.
- The admin should restrict the screen-sharing feature to “Host Only” rather than let any participant the ability to share their screen.
- Email the participation link to those directly, do not publicly post the link on a publicly available platform where anybody is able to click and join.
- Require those that join the meeting to use the 2020 most updated version of zoom, that includes more security features.
Be aware that there are third party softwares that can be used to record a Zoom conversation, without the Host/Admin having no control or knowledge.
Bottom Line: Stay safe out there folks, and be mindful of this now heavily virtual world we are living in.
Now this post is not to discredit legalzoom.com, they are offering a service of providing you with a form that you fill in the blanks too, a flat fee, for the form, AND a guarantee. “If you are not satisfied with our services for any reason, please contact us immediately and we will either correct the situation or provide a refund, your choice”.
As smart consumers we are all looking for the BIGGER – BETTER – DEAL, and there is nothing wrong with that when it makes sense to bargain shop. America is great because of its free market system, allowing for competition and the promise of low prices without compromising quality. I would be lying if I did not admit that prior to buying the latest electronic gadget I did a little web surfing to find any and all coupons that promised to save me a couple dollars. However, what worries me is when I see clients come across my desk with beautifully stacked and stapled documents that they bought and downloaded from legalzoom.com, to be what they consider to be rock solid estate planning documents (will, power of attorney, health care directive, etc.)
The problem that I have with this guarantee is that its a false sense of security in that most people do not review their will in their down time for errors, and even if they did, most people would not know if their will was defective. Nine out of ten times people pull out the will when the Testator (will maker) is on their death bed, or has already passed away. If the testator is on their death bed it may be to late to draft a will, because of questions regarding capacity, and if the person is deceased, then for obvious reasons the will cannot be drafted.
So the guarantee is as good as nothing, and the family of the deceased person who decided to go bargain shopping for their will is left to pick up the pieces, and the bill.
Drafting estate planning documents, like a will or trust, is not suppose to be simple. Legalzoom.com promises simplicity, “answer a couple of questions and you are good to go” – NO. Think about it. If it were to easy to draft a will, or trust, or power of attorney, I would not be writing this post, and attorney’s would no longer be needed in the estate planning document realm. Take it from me, attorney’s are still drafting these documents, and there is heavy litigation bogging down our court system with the validity of wills, and the age old family discourse of “dad really wanted me to have that, you tricked/influenced him” as a main topic of litigation.
Bottom line: Have your will done by a Florida Wills & Trust attorney. A one sized fits all approach to estate planning is dangerous. The cost of a will at our office is competitive, and the peace of mind that your documents were drafted by a Florida Wills & Trust attorney is priceless.