Zoom has quickly changed its hard stance against its upcoming end-to-end encryption technology. After being pressured on security and privacy grounds, the company announced recently that it plans to provide end-to-end encryption even for free users.
Initially, the company planned not to encrypt calls for free users so that they assist law enforcement agencies and prevent vulnerable groups.
“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 CEO Eric Yuan wrote in a blog post.
Since Zoom’s announcement that’ll only offer E2EE to paid users, the company has received a number of letters urging it to consider all of its users.
On Tuesday, the Mozilla Foundation, and the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), in an open letter, co-signed with over 19,000 internet users urged Zoom’s CEO, Eric Yuan, to “reverse his decision and make end-to-end encryption available to all users.”
Another open letter was also sent to the company from a number of digital rights organizations lobbying for the same.
Now that E2EE is coming to all Zoom users, phone verification will be a must. The one-time process will deter what the company calls “bad actors” from creating multiple accounts.
Zoom’s E2EE technology will be available to a few selected users starting July in an early beta program. Currently, the company has released a new version of its E2EE design on GitHub. The main changes to the E2EE design are meant to deliver a balance to “the legitimate right of all users to privacy and the safety of users.”