End-to-end encryption not in the cards for Zoom's free users
MANILA, Philippines – Non-paying users of the Zoom virtual meetings application will not be receiving end-to-end-encryption on their calls, with its CEO Eric Yuan saying the move is to allow law enforcement officials to track calls for potential crimes.
In a Reuters report last Saturday, May 30, Zoom said it planned to strengthen its encryption, but give that privilege only to paying customers, such as schools or businesses.
During an investor call on Tuesday, June 2, Yuan explained the reasoning behind keeping end-to-end encryption as a paid service.
“Free users, for sure, we don’t want to give that because we also want to work together with FBI, with local law enforcement, in case some people use Zoom for a bad purpose,” said Yuan.
In a statement to The Verge, a spokesperson for the company said, “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.”
The spokesperson added, “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.”
Zoom was previously under fire for seemingly taking advantage of the term “end-to-end encryption” and marketing it as a feature of the service. (READ: Zooming out: Video chat apps aren’t perfect, but we need them anyway)
It acquired Keybase in May to speed up its end-to-end encryption development. – Rappler.com