Zoom, the mainstream video conferencing service has recently announced that it will no longer offer end-to-end encryption on free accounts.
Initial reports suggest that Zoom took this step as it wants to work with law enforcement agencies. Luckily the free users will still have access to Zoom’s AES 256 GCM encryption.
Free Users Won’t Get End-To-End Encrypted Zoom Video Calls: Explained
As you might know, the popularity of Zoom skyrocketed amid the coronavirus lockdown. Consequently, it is important for Zoom to worry about the privacy and security of years.
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Eric Yuan, the company’s CEO, has officially stated that Zoom wants to works hand in hand with law enforcement agencies.
“Free users for sure we don’t want to give [end-to-end encryption] because we also want to work together with FBI, with local law enforcement in case some people use Zoom for a bad purpose,” Yuan said on the call with analysts. A majority of privacy and security experts are unhappy with the decisions of Zoom.
A spokesman from Zoom said the company already offers basic encryption for users of all tiers. He added that Zoom does not “proactively monitor meeting content”.
“We do not share information with law enforcement except in circumstances like child sex abuse,” he said. “We do not have backdoors where anyone can enter meetings without being visible to others. None of this will change.”
Tim Wade, the technical director at cybersecurity firm Vectra stated that “In an online world, encryption is paramount to privacy, and privacy promotes safety, liberty, and fairness into our social fabric.” He further added, “Gating personal privacy behind a paywall erodes basic freedoms and fairness.”
A Zoom spokesperson recently added a statement that,
“Zoom does not proactively monitor meeting content, and we do not share information with law enforcement except in circumstances like child sex abuse. We do not have backdoors where participants can enter meetings without being visible to others. None of this will change,”
He further stated that “Zoom’s end-to-end encryption plan balances the privacy of its users with the safety of vulnerable groups, including children and potential victims of hate crimes. We plan to provide end-to-end encryption to users for whom we can verify identity, thereby limiting harm to these vulnerable groups. Free users sign up with an email address, which does not provide enough information to verify identity.”