Zoom finally bows to pressure; promises to launch end-to-end encryption for free users

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Credit: https://blog.zoom.us/wordpress/2020/06/17/end-to-end-encryption-update/

Following sharp criticism over its decision not to offer end-to-end encryption to free users, Zoom has announced a change in that policy. The company said all users—including paid and free users will now have access to the encryption feature, which will be part of the beta scheduled to be released in July.

Announcing this on Wednesday, the company said it has now taken a decision to extend the feature to all users.

“We are also pleased to share that we have identified a path forward that balances the legitimate right of all users to privacy and the safety of users on our platform. This will enable us to offer E2EE as an advanced add-on feature for all of our users around the globe – free and paid – while maintaining the ability to prevent and fight abuse on our platform.”

Every user has a legitimate right to privacy and security; and good thing is that Zoom appreciates this, and is working towards that direction. To have access to end-to-end encryption, Zoom says you will have to take part in a one-time process that will prompt you for additional information as a free or basic user. This process include verifying a phone number via a text message.

“Many leading companies perform similar steps on account creation to reduce the mass creation of abusive accounts. We are confident that by implementing risk-based authentication, in combination with our current mix of tools — including our Report a User function — we can continue to prevent and fight abuse.”

There is a little problem though; Zoom said enabling the end-to-end encryption feature will limit some meeting functionalities including the ability to include traditional PSTN phone lines or SIP/H.323 hardware conference room systems. Hosts will, however, toggle the end-to-end encryption on or off on a per-meeting basis.

Last year, a security report suggested that Mac users should consider removing Zoom from their systems due to security concerns. Though, Zoom quickly addressed the issue, claiming that an update it released at the time had addressed those concerns. It went further to add that users will have more control over their video settings when another update is available. Furthermore, users will have a tool that will eliminate all traces of Zoom from your device if you wish to uninstall it.

In March, Jonathan Leitschuh first reported the issue to the company. In that report, he stated that Zoom’s security flaw only affects Mac devices. The flaw enables any website to start a Zoom call automatically. Without your permission, the cam will be enabled. The flaw started when you install a web server by Zoom. It has been provided to make it compatible with the updates to Safari.

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Author: Ola Ric

Ola Ric is a professional tech writer. He has written and provided tons of published articles for professionals and private individuals. He is also a social commentator and analyst, with relevant experience in the use of social media services.

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