Zoom won’t encrypt free calls; wants to work with the FBI

Zoom is already making plans to make video calls encryption unavailable for users on the free plan as the company hopes to collaborate with the FBI and other authorities to track down criminals, Zoom CEO Eric Yaun stated during a June 2 conference call to investors on the company’s Q1 2021 earnings call.

According to Eric Yuan, the end-to-end encryption feature, currently under development and in beta stages, will be soon available exclusively to enterprise and paid and corporate clients in order to prevent bad folks from using the app.

“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.”
Eric Yuan

The video conference app whose popularity has rocketed on the rear of the worldwide lockdown caught Zoom by surprise. Zoom’s popularity has also come at a price in terms of privacy and security, as the company has always been battling with a series of bugs and flaws, one of them coming in the form of a phenomenon known as “Zoombombing”. This flaw allows intruders to get access to meetings and disrupt them.

Most of these intruders, as one might presume, are on Zoom’s free plan, and the company looks to make it easier for law enforcement authorities to clamp down hard on them when a host reports abuse on a call.

Data of Zoom calls are only encrypted in transit and not at the end destinations. This means that the can be potentially accessed and viewed by Zoom’s employees at will.

Additionally, Zoom has been accused of sending data collected from users of its iOS app to Facebook and making false assertions that video calls were encrypted, only for half a million Zoom accounts to surface on the darknet.

In a clear plan to address security issues, Zoom acquired Keybase some weeks ago, an end-to-end encryption start-up. However, a recent update suggests that the majority of calls will remain unencrypted.

Zoom’s security failures have also triggered the development of other blockchain-based video call conferencing solutions. A good instance of this is the encrypted video calls solution Brave recently launched.

How much of an impact will this move have on Zoom?

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