Zoom Backtracks And Will Offer End To End Encryption To ALL Users

Recently, 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 apparently backtracked:

Today, Zoom released an updated E2EE design on GitHub. 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. 

To make this possible, Free/Basic users seeking access to E2EE will participate in a one-time process that will prompt the user for additional pieces of information, such as 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.

Additional Information

  • We plan to begin early beta of the E2EE feature in July 2020. 
  • All Zoom users will continue to use AES 256 GCM transport encryption as the default encryption, one of the strongest encryption standards in use today.
  • E2EE will be an optional feature as it limits some meeting functionality, such as the ability to include traditional PSTN phone lines or SIP/H.323 hardware conference room systems. Hosts will toggle E2EE on or off on a per-meeting basis. 
  • Account administrators can enable and disable E2EE at the account and group level. 

I am guessing that the blowback from not rolling out end to end encryption was so epic that Zoom had to work double time to figure out a way to make that go away. Or it could be the fact that Zoom dropped themselves in it by shutting down the accounts of Hong Kong democracy activists recently and they need to get some sort of “win” to make users perceive them differently. Either way, this is positive news for Zoom users.

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