Free Zoom Users Won’t Receive Encrypted Video Calls, Here is Why

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Zoom has announced it won’t be providing end-to-end encryption on free accounts. 

Recently, Alex Stamos, the company’s security consultant, unveiled that plans for increased security on paying accounts were under development. Today (June 3), Zoom CEO Eric Yuan has confirmed it. Here is what you should know. 

Zoom’s Recent Decision Stirs Controversy

Zoom’s recent move has stirred a lot of controversies. Zoom CEO Eric Yuan explained in the company’s latest financial results statement: “Free users, […], we don’t want to give that end-to-end encryption.” The reason? 

Zoom apparently wants to team up with FBI and local law enforcement, in case some users utilize the platform for bad purposes. Some have consequently blamed the company of “kowtowing to the police.” What is left there to believe?

Stamos, on the other hand, thought that Yuan’s announcement wasn’t clear, and took to Twitter to give more details about Zoom’s latest decision. According to his statement, the company is troubled by a “difficult balancing act” attempting to enhance privacy guarantees while lowering the users’ impact of the abuse of its product. 

Stamos is referring to exposure to children, hate speech, and other illegal and immoral behaviors that have blighted the platform recently. The users involved in such a type of activity will mostly utilize a free account with throwaway email addresses – a reduced level of encryption will permit Zoom, with the support of law enforcement, to act on repeat offenders. 

“Will this eliminate all abuse? Since the vast majority of harm comes from self-service users with face identities, this will create friction and reduce harm,” added Stamos. 

Zoom has also faced a raft of difficulties, triggered mainly by its enhanced uptake due to the Covid-19 crisis. As the service is increasingly being utilized by wicked people for illegal activities, Zoom must create a balance between tools for weeding out the bad players and more security levels for its trusted users. 

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