Zoom Won’t Encrypt Calls For Free Users So Law Enforcement Agencies Can Have Access When Necessary

Early last month, Zoom acquired Keybase, a New York-based startup that provides a secure messaging and file-sharing service. The acquisition was a part of Zoom’s plan to build end-to-end encryption within its platform, as it seeks to bolster the security and privacy of its users.

Zoom made it clear that they won’t bring end-to-end encryption to free users. Early this week, the company reiterated the same but this time providing another reason as to why.

In a meeting with investors on Tuesday, Zoom CEO Eric Yuan said they also want to work with law enforcement agencies “in case some people use Zoom for a bad purpose.”

“Free users — for sure we don’t want to give [them] that, because we also want to work together with the FBI, with local law enforcement,” says Yuan.

That may raise some eyebrows among free Zoom users but a company spokesperson says they neither “proactively monitor meeting content” nor “share information with law enforcement except in circumstances like child sex abuse.”

In this case, however, the company seeks to find the sweet spot between ensuring the privacy of users and the safety of vulnerable groups like children.

“We plan to provide end-to-end encryption to users for whom we can verify identity, thereby limiting harm to these vulnerable groups. Free users sign up with an email address, which does not provide enough information to verify identity.”

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Alvin Wanjala

Alvin Wanjala has been writing about technology for over 2 years. He writes about different topics in the consumer tech space. He loves streaming music, programming, and gaming during downtimes.

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