One of the apps that cashed in on the coronavirus pandemic is Zoom. The quarantine period swooped in millions of users to the video conferencing app.
However, the fame of the app was rather short-lived, as several security issues were discovered by researchers. The company had to freeze the release of new features for the time being to tackle bombarding security issues.
Now, Zoom has said that it will not offer end-to-end encryption to its free users and will reserve that feature only for business, schools, and other paying users. It says the reason behind it not offering end-to-end encryption to free users is the fact that the FBI and cops might want to access these calls if required.
“Free users — for sure we don’t want to give [them] that, because we also want to work together with the FBI, with local law enforcement, in case some people use Zoom for a bad purpose,” said Eric Yuan, Zoom CEO.
The Zoom app has faced criticism in the past for its inferior end-to-end encryption tech that could compromise users’ privacy. Now, this decision could further demotivate users from using Zoom, especially those users who do not want to pay for the service.
However, Zoom’s decision seems to be practical as there have been instances where the app has been used by people with malevolent intentions. Offering end-to-end encryption would make it impossible for moderators and authorities to keep a check on those using Zoom for illegal purposes.
Zoom CEO’s statement also reflects that the company wants to keep the FBI and cops in the loop this time for transparency. Further clarifying its decision, Zoom CEO said:
“We plan to provide end-to-end encryption to users for whom we can verify identity, thereby limiting harm to these vulnerable groups. Free users sign up with an email address, which does not provide enough information to verify identity.”
Meanwhile, we have compiled a list of Zoom alternatives in case you are searching for a video conferencing app to help you connect with your friends, colleagues virtually.