Zoom May Only Enable End To End Encryption For Paying Customers…. My Take

Zoom has been working hard to overcome their security issues over the last few months. One of the things that they needed to address is the fact that communications were not end to end encrypted, even though the company claimed that they were. The company finally admitted that this was something that needed to be addressed. And it looks like that end to end encryption is about to be lit up, assuming that you have the latest version of the Zoom app, and you happen to be a paying customer:

The company, whose business has boomed with the coronavirus pandemic, discussed the move on a call with civil liberties groups and child-sex abuse fighters on Thursday, and Zoom security consultant Alex Stamos confirmed it on Friday. 

In an interview, Stamos said the plan was subject to change and it was not yet clear which, if any, nonprofits or other users, such as political dissidents, might qualify for accounts allowing more secure video meetings. 

He added that a combination of technological, safety and business factors went into the plan, which drew mixed reactions from privacy advocates.

Now I can look at this two ways:

  • It makes sense that Zoom would focus this on paying customers. After all, that is what keeps the lights on. It also gets rid of the people who are hogging resources related to the free tier of the app which likely costs Zoom money.
  • Other apps like iMessage, WhatsApp, and Signal offer end to end encryption for free.

You’ll note that the plan is subject to change. I suspect that it may change based on either the blowback that they get, or if people on the free tier abandon the platform for another video chat solution en masse.

My take is that I think that Zoom is doing the right thing. Yes there’s going to be blowback from some who think Zoom should enable end to end encryption for all. But that’s really not viable in my opinion. Zoom is a business and not a charity. At some point they have to pay for all the security improvements that are going into the app. And if you want want those security improvements, you need to pay up. So I would suggest that users who are on the free tier of Zoom who want these improvements should put their money where their mouths are.

2 Responses to “Zoom May Only Enable End To End Encryption For Paying Customers…. My Take”

  1. Yes, but then he said this later: “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,” Yuan said on the call.

  2. […] I wrote about the fact that Zoom was going to roll out end to end encryption, but only to people who pay Zoom. To nobody’s surprise that upset free users. But those users should be happy now as Zoom has […]

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