Zoom Says It Will Now Offer End-to-End Encryption To Free Users

Pappi Hex

Earlier this month, Zoom announced that only paying customers and not free users would benefit from its upcoming end-to-end encryption feature. However, the video conferencing and telecommunication service yesterday announced that it will offer end-to-end encryption also to free users who provide an additional piece of information.

Initially, Zoom said that it won't provide end-to-end encryption to free users, arguing that free users are more likely to commit abuse, and also that they will assist law enforcement investigations.

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Following the announcement, Mozilla, and the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EEF), and many others called on Zoom to reverse its decision and make the end-to-end encryption available to all users. Mozilla and EEF noted that the end-to-end encryption will be a very important tool, most especially for journalist and activists living under repressive regimes and fighting censorship.

Yesterday, Zoom announced that following the feedback that it received, it found a way to offer end-to-end encryption to all users as an advanced add-on feature for all users "around the globe - free and paid - while maintaining the ability to prevent and fight abuse" on the 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 of abusive accounts," Zoom said.

"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."

Mozilla and EFF has praised the decision taken by Zoom, and has urged other companies like Microsoft, Slack and Cisco to follow suit.

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