Zoom has finally agreed to provide free end-to-end encryption calls for all users. This announcement comes weeks after the video chat service said that encrypted video calls would only be available to paid users.
About two weeks ago, Zoom said it would provide end-to-end encryption only for premium customers and offer a less-effective form of encryption, called transit encryption, to free users.
The logic behind this differentiation in encryption was to allow law enforcement to regulate illicit content coming from those users who don’t have accounts and are, therefore, harder to track. But paid users could be traced easily in comparison, so they are less likely to use the platform for illegal purposes.
But this decision was heavily criticized by privacy enthusiasts claiming that Zoom plans to make privacy a premium feature rather than everyone’s right. So, Zoom was under pressure from critics to provide the same level of encryption and privacy to all users.
But there is a catch!
Free users who want end-to-end encryption in video calls will have to verify their phone number via text message for a one-time authentication. This step has been introduced to reduce the mass creation of abusive accounts.
Zoom hopes that by implementing risk-based authentication, they can continue to provide security but also prevent and fight abuse of the tool.