Zoom Video Communications Inc (NASDAQ:ZM) has announced plans to include end-to-end encryption after previously facing controversy over security issues, but the encryption will only be available for paying customers.
Zoom’s CEO, Eric Yuan, recently announced that his company will roll out end-end-encryption in a move that is aimed at alleviating privacy concerns that previously rocked the company. However, the company plans to encrypt video conferencing services for paying customers only. This has been seen as a move that is aimed at encouraging more people to switch to the premium option instead of using the free version.
Privacy advocates have expressed concerns about the company’s decision regarding the decision because it means that no-paying customers will remain exposed to potential security concerns. It will also leave room for law enforcement agencies such as the FBI to spy on users.
“Free users for sure we don’t want to give [end-to-end encryption] because we also want to work together with FBI, with local law enforcement in case some people use Zoom for a bad purpose,” stated Yuan.
Zoom quickly rose to fame at the height of the coronavirus outbreak in February, March, and April as the top teleconferencing service since people were forced to stay at home. However, it also came under heavy scrutiny for not implementing adequate security measures to ensure user privacy, thus leaving users open to potential security breaches and spying.
End-to-end encryption is a common security measure that scrambles data when it comes from the sender so that it cannot be decoded by any device or address other than the recipient address. This makes it a highly effective tool for upholding user protection, and Zoom will use this approach on its videoconferencing platform. However, analysts have questioned the company’s decision not to provide end-to-end encryption for non-paying customers.
Evan Greer, an executive at a digital rights advocacy group called Fight for the Future, does not agree with Zoom’s decision. He believes that platforms should not charge a premium for basic security features. The lack of encryption for free users means that people, including minors who use the platform, might be exposed.