tv The Communicators Josh Kallmer Zoom Head of Global Public Policy CSPAN December 21, 2020 8:00am-8:32am EST
the house returns this morning at nine eastern. watch the debate on c-span. the sin is meeting with live coverage on c-span2. watch online at c-span.org or listen on the free c-span radio app. >> you are watching c-span2, your unfiltered view of government. created by america's cable-television company as a public service and brought you by your television provider. >> host: josh kallmer is the head of global public policy and government relations for the company known as zoom and he is our guest this week on "the communicators." mr. kallmer, , is a safe to say that zoom is the company that no one knew about a march and everybody knows about today? >> guest: peter, i think that would be a fair characterization. it's been an utterly
transformational year for this company. we went from something on the order of 10 million daily meeting participants in december to something north of 300 million in april. prior to the pandemic we were focused almost entirely on business customers and, of course, all that changed. when the pandemic arrived we understood that we had the opportunity to connect not just companies but people, families, face institutions, schools, healthcare institutions. it's been extraordinary. we worked to scale up incredibly quickly to avoid disruptions and to be there for people. i've heard people say that. i think there's a lot of truth to it and we feel privileged to have been a part of it. >> host: when was zoom developed and how long has it been around? who is the mastermind behind it? >> guest: zoom was founded in 2011 by eric.
he founded the company. it formally been at cisco webex, and like i said up until early this year it was a company that was focused primarily on companies, financial institutions, multinational corporations and that's the summary of the story. >> host: what is your job? >> guest: so my job is to lead the global public policy in government relations department. i joined the company in may, and since that time have been building of the team. our role is essential to serve as the companies diplomats around the world, to help the company understand how public policy affects it and to a policy makers understand who zoom is the under products but also what our values are, what our positions on important public policy topics are, and
really to build trust, to build understanding, to be ambassador ambassadors, to work through challenging policy questions in ways that promote the innovation and everything we have to offer, but also that advance things that we in government care a lot about together, things like privacy and security. >> host: josh kallmer, what are two of those public policy issues that are at the forefront for you? >> guest: i think the two that are just mentioned actually would be right up there. privacy something we take incredibly seriously. our whole business depends on the trust of our users. we are actively involved whether it's in europe, the united states, brazil, india, around the world to help shape policies around privacy. and, of course, of data security similarly critical, lots of initiatives happening worldwide on that topic that we really
involving. >> host: to help us explore some of those issues, ashley gold with the axios publication. >> hey, josh. good to see today. you joint zoom in may. a lot of things have happened since then. a lot of remote learning, a lot of remote work. since you have joined there has been a settlement with the federal trade commission, a settlement with the new york state ag's office. for you personally since you joined the company what was the most rewarding moment so far and what was the lowest? >> guest: oh, boy. i think the most rewarding moment is one that is not so much a moment but a process, and that's in the process of being able to tell zoom's story to governments and the policy audiences around the world, to build up a team, to make connections with policymakers, to make connections with thought leaders, and to talk about the values of this company which are
really the right ones and so consistent with my own philosophy about how companies should be based on camilla, based on office and see -- authenticity and respect and understanding. that is been incredibly rewarding. i don't know that i can point to a low moment, but i think having this year has obviously been traumatic for everybody on the planet, and for this company i think understanding and responding to some of the concerns that were raised earlier this year about security and privacy was a moment that we all had to take incredibly seriously. i am very gratified that we did. we responded decisively in early april to concerns that had been raised. we implemented a concrete and immediate 90 day plan to improve
our approaches to security and privacy, and i think that will come already has set up us well for the future and i think it will continue to do that. >> i wanted to ask you about the security plan. i think it wrapped up in july. how well do you think it worked, and how much did the regulatory pressure from the ftc and from the new york ag influence your decision about the security plan? >> guest: such as to clarify one thing, the 90 day plan concluded in july, that's correct, but the ideas not to stop innovating on these things rather to continue doing it and consider that the continuous journey. the commitment that was reflected in the plant and we continue to take forward is being done because it's absolutely the right thing to do -- the plan -- that is the motivation for. we understood, especially with the evolution of our company.
one of the incredible developments that we confronted in the pandemic was not just the quantitative growth of our business but the qualitative change. the fact that now it's like a said earlier, churches and yoga studios in school and people and my crazy lebanese family every sunday using this platform, we recognized we needed to make sure that these users who, unlike most of our business customers, don't have their own i.t. departments and own tech experts knew how to use this product safely and securely. so that's what it was, that's what it was motivated by. >> and you've been around the world, you know how they generally goes when tech companies are beating up a present in d.c. and trying to make sure they are on good terms of lawmakers. what are zoom's major goals for
engaging with lawmakers in d.c. around the world? how do they differ if they do differ from those of other tech companies like google, apple and facebook? >> guest: i think effective public policy and effective fore government relations depends on a few things. traditional lobbying and advocacy is a part of it, but ultimately even though it's very difficult, it's simple in some ways. it's about human relationships. it's about helping people understand who you are, not just what you do with who you are, what you are about. when i think of the north star of what should be guiding our efforts on public policy on behalf of this company around the world, it's that. show them who we are. because who we are like a said is a very humble and respected company that wants to support people's communication, wants to
get right on policy issues. so i start from that premise before even dating to specific public policies to make it a little more concrete though i think our objective and were already on the way to doing it, is to identify and become very clear and an agreement within the company about where we stand on the big issues of the day. and to ensure both that we have globally consistent approach to those positions but we also recognize that every market is different and of the market has different policy preferences and priorities, and we also need to have the sophistication and the subtlety to tailor our approaches for specific markers. >> host: josh kallmer, just to follow up on that question. did you even have washington presence prior to march? >> guest: no, , we did not appear we did not. i'm glad you mentioned that, peter. this is in the way reflective of
the priority that the company is putting on all of these issues around trust, privacy, safety, security. the company made a tremendous commitment and investment in my group but we are growing as well in our trust and safety team, our security team and throughout the company to make sure we're equipped to be a successful on these issues as possible. >> host: in your view of the rules of the road when it comes to privacy regulation, are they clear? >> guest: i think they are becoming clearer. privacy is an incredibly complex subject and there are some very complex pieces of law out there around the world and a very interesting debate happening in the united states that one reason it's interesting is because we have a federal system, so we got states able to do specific things and the federal government potentially
wanting to do its thing. so i think in the way achieving greater clarity around privacy, achieving ideally less fragmentation around privacy but having bodies of law that reflect strong privacy protections is a goal we should a fortran what do you find members of congress are amenable to hearing your message? >> guest: absolutely, absolutely. i say that both as a representative of zoom and in my prior capacity representing the global tech sector generally. members of congress tend to be very open-minded. doesn't mean they always agree, but the important thing is that your constructive partners in these processes, and there is a large number in both chambers and both sides of the aisle that play that role. >> host: ashley gold. >> is capitol hill allowed to
use zoom again? i know nancy pelosi was angry about zoom earlier in the pandemic. have relations improved? there was a lot of swift bash lack -- things like that. do you feel that has died down now that you done your security practices but specifically asking about the hill? >> guest: we are feeling pretty good about our conversations with the hill and its ability to use our platform, and we keep in touch with them regularly. with great lines of communication and we are very optimistic about increased usage on the hill. i will say the meeting disruptions that you mentioned are something that are as important to us as to anyone. we take an incredibly seriously and addressing that phenomenon was a key part of the 90 day plan, a key part of what we continue to do with end-to-end encryption and other innovations
and we develop a lot of tools to help users secure their meetings. meetings. we make sure that our site of the platform insecure as well and so we're taking that really seriously. >> now you have a lot of competition. there's google hangouts, microsoft teams, facebook uses its platform. this is something that all major tech companies really want to get into, and you guys on the upstart, that's keeping everyone on their toes and keeping this technology fresh. how do you deal with that from a public policy perspective when it so much more competition from these huge tech companies with tons of resources and google hangouts is free, for just the amount of matter using it. what is like to be in the pool with all the huge tech companies that also into videoconferencing technology? >> guest: you are right, ashley, it is certainly a
incredibly competitive environment. i think that makes us better and ultimately we have to focus on the innovation. our objective is to have the most innovative, the most usable and the most secure platform that we can effectively to be the best to breed. when it comes to washington to brussels or any other policy environment, our policy goal is to ensure policy environment that supports the open his come supports the competition, supports the ability of companies of all sizes to compete. >> i wanted to ask, we talked a lot about privacy and security which i can tell our resumes made progress but then there's content moderation and content hosting. facebook and youtube deals with this, twitter, and toenails. the more you'll get criticized what you allow under platform. you guys had the situation back
in september with the palestinian woman, something at san francisco state university. you guys she's had it not to host it. how do you predict you guys are going to keep continuing to respond to public pressure like that again, the situation is really quick when you respond to people's criticism and not simply being a platform. how do you see zoom navigating those waters moving forward? >> guest: i'm glad you mentioned that because it's one of the areas that we are really expanding our focus on both in terms of the amount of time we spent thinking about it but also the number of people we have rounded. ultimately, we are a company committed to the free and open exchange of thoughts and ideas. we offer a platform to facilitate that but we do it in
the context of a set of rules, which we call our terms of service and community guidelines that reflect our values and reflect our view of what appropriate and inappropriate behavior on our platform is. making the judgment about whether certain conduct meets or fails to meet those standards can be a hard one, to the situation he referred to at san francisco state is a good example of that. we look at the facts that were presented there. we saw there was owing to be a meeting featuring lela. we made a determination that she has been a member of an organization that was designated under u.s. laws as a terrorist organization and we tried to work with the university to deal with that. ultimately we made the judgment
that this would not be an appropriate use of our platform. doesn't that be consistent with the terms of service, and disallowed the meeting. >> host: josh kallmer, does that lead to a slippery slope in the sense? i mean, edward snowden, should he be allowed under platform? should president trump be allowed to give his views on your platform? where do you draw the line? >> guest: i don't know that you can draw the line, peter, in the abstract, in a hypothetical way. what we are committed to doing is to have a set of principles to make sure the reflect your values and to articulate them as clearly as you can in a week and actually administer. that's one of the reasons not only with our terms of service and with our community guidelines but also with the document we call our government request guide, that we've worked really hard this summer to set out the principal framework, or
framework of principles rather, for how we will respond to what our admittedly really tough situations. can't do it again in the abstract reject a look at the situations that are presented. we ultimately will make the judgment that strikes the right balance for zoom at any given case. >> host: did you become a publisher at the point? >> guest: i think that is, you know, a characterization that would probably require some discussion. i can't think of you on that specifically, but i will say that we recognize, actually, as your question mention, as a usage of our platform expand and especially as our business evolves, and it is evolving as some exciting ways, we will be confronted with these issues and we just need like i said to have her principles in place, or framework in place and do a very thoughtful people applying those rules consistently to hopefully a private good results.
>> when you and other tech companies are dealing with this problem, does it teach you any lessons? we've seen youtube and facebook deal with these things on a case-by-case basis, changing their policies on the fly, especially around the election and that has led to a lot of unhappy and confuse users. what lessons are you taking from that as you develop your own policies? >> guest: yeah, i mean, i think we do. we look at what our peers are doing and learn lessons in both directions and there are some things that other companies do that are very intelligent and thoughtful as well. ultimately, companies business models all very a little bit so it's hard to draw exactly from any other company but i think the important thing is to be very clear about what you rules are, very consistent in applying
them, and just very honest that these are tough calls. these are human beings making judgments about really important principles that sometimes come in tension with one another, and we will do our best and we're going to always tell people how we are doing it and how we are making decisions about these difficult issues. >> host: josh kallmer, do you have any interaction with the fcc? >> guest: to date we have not, or i will just speak for myself and my team. we've not had extensive interaction with them. i think one of the exercises where going through right now which seems pretty rudimentary but is also incredibly important is looking out at the environment notches in washington but around the world and identifying who are the key people in government, who are the key agencies that we need to get to know better, whether or not we have a direct regulatory
relationship with them. there's so much about i think succeeding in public policy as i was saying earlier is just making connections with people who are in the space, or in the technology policy space for thinking about these things. i would imagine we would work to get to know the fcc better in 2021. >> host: are the rules are not different between washington and the states and brussels and the eu? >> guest: it depends what you're talking about, i think. i i actually think in some areas there's more similarity than meets the eye. europe as a whole has some starting positions that are a little bit different than in the united states. it's got a somewhat more active regulatory culture historically, and this is one of the reasons it's so important when you represent a company of anybody in public policy, take those
local variations seriously and kitchen of the people in each market and get to know what their values and instincts and starting premises are -- and get to know the people. there can be some differences, yeah. >> host: have you had to wrap up a brussels office as well? >> guest: yes, we are doing that, and we will be starting early next year having somebody in place in brussels. we will have people and i think nitrogen markets around the world. my hope and my expectations that we will continue to grow not just with people but with other kinds of resources and efforts to make these connections in various markets and to do in a really thoughtful and locally specific way. >> host: are zoomed services allowed in china? >> guest: yes. >> host: how big is your present there?
>> guest: we have got our business in china is primarily focused on our multinational customers, our global companies that have customers or employees in china and they connect with them there. it's a meaningful amount of business, i suppose it depends on how you measure it yes, we do have capability there. >> host: all indications are the rules are very different there especially when it comes to privacy. >> guest: well, you know, this is an area that i think our peer companies come we don't have meaningfully different approach for presence there and our peers. there are some differences in rules. what we tried it it is just make sure we are applying the absolute strongest security protocols around the movement of
data, around the activities of people. that our uses around the world they can have full confidence in their data and the meetings and communications are absolutely secure even if there is a nexus with china, whether it's through their own employer or otherwise. >> host: ashley gold? >> would ask about china as well. do you anticipate running into some of the same problems google and facebook and facebook it had doing business in china and having data centers and other things in china? generally getting a lot of pushback from the u.s. government for that? >> guest: well, as i was saying to peter it is a different regulatory environment. there are potential challenges everywhere and we are prepared for that. one of the reasons we want to develop strong relationships notches in washington but in brussels and berlin and elsewhere is to make sure we're in constant communication with officials from other governments
about those. and again coupled with the sorts of efforts we think the security steps we have taken a rent anything having to do with china are an absolute focus. they need to be the very best they can be and we think combining those two things, the toughest possible security protections with a very open communication with other similarly situated or concerned officials or governments is a way to ensure that we can operate safely around the world including in china. >> i i want to ask you about section 230. its extreme in the news right now. i never in a million near years expected outcome to be tweeting about section 230. right to the end and wanting it to be put in the national defense authorization act. how important is that to content moderation? >> guest: well, section 230 is
a bedrock of a free and open internet, and it has been for about a generation. so i think regardless of how any company is characterized as being affected by 230, the principle that it represents is a really critical one and should be preserved. i like you have been amazed with the ways in which it's a been covered and become part of the discussion. and to think probably there will be some tough, , legitimately challenging conversation in 2021 around how this principle should be and how it will interact with some of the competing forces around content moderation as you suggest, and we are eager to be a part of those conversations. >> and i wanted to ask you about content moderation you talk about how you're you developina policies, want to make sure they
align with the principles. how much are you investing in how to quote best do that kind of moderation? >> guest: we are investing a ton in the principle of it, the thoughtful about it and figuring out what our approach is going to be. part of it does include people actually being involved in that. but again it's one thing to have people doing, you know, making the judgments and sort of on the front lines, and it's another to have a company commitment to doing it thoughtfully and consistently. so we are trying to do both but it's a journey and we are very much on it. >> host: josh kallmer, 5g, rural broadband expansion, i'm presuming that zune supports both of those efforts? >> guest: we do. one of the things of course is the pandemic has revealed is
some of the ways in which access to internet service is so unevenly distributed. we had been cooperating with some organizations and coalitions that are focused on expanding broadband access and doing in the most technologically advanced way. of course 5g 5g is very much pt of that conversation. we are hopeful there would be meaningful action and u.s. early in 2021 to drive it forward. >> host: since you are a service that doesn't necessarily have its own so-called pipe into people's houses, where does uma fall when it comes -- zoom when it comes to content nectar jelly? >> guest: that's an issue, to be very honest with you, , pete, we are thinking through. it is one of the many things that i and my team are working to develop a very thoughtful and texture position if that's what it takes him could hesitate to
answer your question definitively right now, other than to say that it's something we we're thinking very actively about. >> host: and finally, there's a vaccine, vaccines are coming online. our people returning to work? what is the post-pandemic zoom world like? >> guest: yeah, i mean, like everybody we are thrilled that we are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, but we are, just as we are grateful and privilege for the role we've been able to play during the pandemic were equally if not more excited about the future. the company is evolving in ways that we think will just allow us to support people's communications and workplace activities and personal activities in ways that expand well beyond what we have seen during the last eight months.
we had got an internet-based phone service that we are very actively rolling out. we just rolled out a party called on zoom which is an online events platform and marketplace. we've got something called zoom apps which is kind of app marketplace will be worked to integrate with all kinds of the companies and their software, either for professional or educational or other purposes. the world has changed. we will see what the new normal looks like, that we couldn't be more excited about our company and the potential we have to support people and businesses and organizations around the world and all kinds of giveaways in the coming years. >> host: josh kallmer is head of global public policy and government relations for zoom. ashley gold covers tech for axios. thank you both for being on "the communicators." >> guest: thank you, peter