Zoom to provide end-to-end encryption to all users

Hemani Sheth Mumbai | Updated on June 18, 2020

Zoom will offer end-to-end encryptions for all its users, the company announced on Wednesday.

“Since releasing the draft design of Zoom’s end-to-end encryption (E2EE) on May 22, we have engaged with civil liberties organizations, our CISO council, child safety advocates, encryption experts, government representatives, our own users, and others to gather their feedback on this feature. We have also explored new technologies to enable us to offer E2EE to all tiers of users,” Zoom said in an official blog post.

The video conferencing tool last month had said that it ill build end-to-end encryption for its tool. However, the company had earlier planned to launch the feature only for its paid users.

However, the video conferencing platform on Wednesday released its E2EE design on GitHub and said that they have “identified a path forward” to provide encryption for all users.

“This will enable us to offer E2EE as an advanced add-on feature for all of our users around the globe – free and paid – while maintaining the ability to prevent and fight abuse on our platform,” Zoom said.

One of the concerns that Zoom had shown earlier in providing encryption for all users was that it could lead to the app being used for unlawful activity as it becomes increasingly difficult for federal agencies to track communications with end-to-end encryption, the Verge had reported.

Free/Basic users looking to add seeking access to E2EE on Zoom will need to go through a one-time verification process, Zoom said. The process will “prompt the user for additional pieces of information, such as verifying a phone number via a text message.”

“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,” it said.

The end-to-encryption feature will be provided to all users on an opt-in basis as it limits certain functionalities on the call. Hosts can toggle on or off the function for each meeting. Account admins can enable or disable the feature on a group level as well.

All Zoom users will be provided AES 256 GCM transport encryption as the default encryption.

Zoom is planning to beta test the encryption feature as early as July 2020.

Published on June 18, 2020

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