Zoom, at the request of the Chinese Communist Party, terminated the accounts of the hosts of a conference and terminated the conference while it was in session. At this particular conference neither the hosts nor the participants were in China at the time of the on-line Conference. However, Zoom still creates problems for scientists, academics and other persons who go to China on business or to visit relatives. They will be identified by Zoom as someone from China and their data will be stored with Zoom and can be shared with the Chinese government. CCS has written Zoom, Inc. urging them to not succumb to political pressure and assure freedom of expression for all democratically legitimate activities without fear of reprisals. CCS is asking all Human Rights and Academic organizations to join in bringing the seriousness of these practices to the attention of the Zoom front office.
June 17, 2020
Chief Executive Officer
San Jose Headquarters
55 Almaden Boulevard, 6th Floor
San Jose, CA 95113
Dear Mr. Yuan,
The Committee of Concerned Scientists is an independent organization of scientists, physicians, engineers and scholars that has been working, since 1972, on the advancement of human rights and scientific freedom for our colleagues all over the world.
We are writing you of our concerns about your actions shutting down conferences about June 4 and deactivating the accounts of the hosts of these conferences at the request of the Chinese Communist Party.
We appreciate your statement that Zoom will not terminate conferences and accounts of hosts outside of China anymore. This however might still put some U.S. and other country scientists and scholars at risk. Some of them often go to China to visit relatives. If they use Zoom in China, they will be identified by Zoom as someone from China and their data will be stored with Zoom and, if requested, will definitely be shared with the Chinese government.
As you know many scientists and scholars use Zoom for their conferences and seminars. We greatly appreciate your technical wizardry for making this possible and would like to continue using it. This however might become problematic if Zoom does not strengthen its resistance to political pressure.
We therefore strongly urge you to take a strong stand to insure freedom of expression for all democratically legitimate activities without fear of reprisals.
We thank you in advance for taking our concerns seriously and acting on them.
Joel L. Lebowitz, Paul H. Plotz, Walter Reich, Eugene M. Chudnovsky, Alexander Greer
Co-Chairs, Committee of Concerned Scientists