Zoom made end-to-end encryption available to everyone

Zoom end-to-end encryption
Written by Emma Davis

In early June, Zoom’s management made a very strange decision that end-to-end encryption would be sold to users. However, it seems that the company changed it mind: end-to-end encryption in Zoom will now be available to everyone.

Let me remind you that one of the main reasons for criticizing Zoom at spring this year was a lie about the use of end-to-end encryption. As the researchers found out, video calls in Zoom by default did not have end-to-end encryption, although the company claimed the opposite. Then the company representatives promised to “take measures” and correct themselves.

Last month, Zoom published a detailed cryptographic design project that was planned to use end-to-end encryption implementations. Surprisingly, as it became known at the beginning of June, it was decided to offer end-to-end encryption only to paid users and educational institutions.

This decision was dictated by the fact that ordinary users are more likely to abuse the platform“, – explained Zoom representatives.

So, the company wanted to continue to collaborate with the FBI and law enforcement agencies in cases when people use Zoom for “bad purposes”.

Then Alex Stamos, the former head of Facebook security, who now helps Zoom as a guest consultant, devoted a long thread on Twitter to this issue.

Implementing end-to-end encryption is not so easy, as the task is complicated by product requirements for enterprises, as well as legal nuances”, – explained Alex Stamos.

Nevertheless, this did not save Zoom from another avalanche of criticism from experts, human rights defenders and the community.

Now Zoom head Eric Yuan said in a company blog that support for end-to-end encryption calls will be launched next month, in July 2020, and will appear in beta versions of Zoom.

At the same time, Yuan writes that in order to prevent abuse and violations (including those related to child pornography, cruelty, etc.). Zoom will provide this function to everyone, though users will have to be verified.

To make this possible, free/basic users that want to access end-to-end encryption will have once to go through a special process, during which they will be asked for additional information, including confirmation of the phone number using a text message”, — explains Yuan.

The Head of Zoom notes that these measures will help the company find a balance between customers’ need for privacy and the fight against abuse.

Zoom currently uses machine learning algorithms to scan video calls for nudity and signs of child abuse, and recently the “Report user” feature has also been added to the application.

Let me also remind you that from Zoom app was removed a code that allowed Facebook tracking users and because of which IS community mercilessly criticized the company.

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About the author

Emma Davis

I'm writer and content manager (a short time ago completed a bachelor degree in Marketing from the Gustavus Adolphus College). For now, I have a deep drive to study cyber security.

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