Here’s Why Zoom Doesn’t Provide E2E Encryption to their Free Users

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Zoom recently faced backlash over the announcement made a couple of days back that the video calling app will not provide end-to-end encryption for their non-paying users. Zoom’s decision to withhold encryption only strengthened the privacy scare among free users, but there’s a reason why Zoom has decided to alter the privacy feature recently. Zoom has been having troubles on their security front for the longest time now and these issues have skyrocketed during the pandemic. The company was sued by a shareholder because of fraudulent security policies and the violation of the same. 

Despite violations of security policies, Zoom has seen a surge of users during the pandemic, this app has some serious cases of unwanted intrusion into video conferences or even one-on-one video call by individuals which has caused disruption. This was later termed as Zoom bombing/ Zoom attacks/ Zoom raiding. Many such security and privacy issues had come up of late, security researchers have also mentioned the presence of some serious security vulnerabilities on the app. With the latest announcement by Eric Yuan, the CEO of Zoom, that Zoom will not be providing end-to-end encryption for all its users, users have expressed disappointment over the same. 

Eric Yuan explained in a statement about the decision to withhold E2E encryption for free users after the company filed its Q1 earnings report, saying, “Free users, for sure, we don’t want to give [end-to-end encryption], because we also want to work it together with FBI and local law enforcement, in case some people use Zoom for bad purpose.”

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From the above-mentioned statement, it is very clear that Eric Yuan is under the impression that free users of this app could potentially be using this with nefarious intentions. This has led to discontentment among free users because it was made to look like Eric Yuan was equating free users to those with criminal motives. Zoom has cared about maintaining customer relations and that could potentially lead to an overwhelming amount of criticism and understandably so. Basic security and privacy protection shouldn’t just be available to the wealthy or to people who are paying a few extra bucks. Everybody deserves to get basic safety and security protection not just big corporations or free users.

A Zoom spokesperson has said, “We do not share information with law enforcement except in circumstances like child sex abuse. We do not have backdoors where anyone can enter meetings without being visible to others. None of this will change”. They also pointed out that the company does not “proactively monitor meeting content”. Receiving such heavy backlash by users, it could be anticipated that Zoom might consider the plight of free users and bring about changes in these policies. There are, as we all know, tons of platforms that offer a safe and secured video calling platform which users could easily switch to. 

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Anushmita Samal
Books, art, aesthetics, colours and undying love for lemon tarts and flowers!

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