Today, Zoom’s video integration program has announced that it will be back to its earlier statements regarding user privacy. Soon, Zoom encryption will be available to all users, whether for free or premium subscriptions.
The move follows a major PR backlash after a senior Zoom official made it clear that the company had no intention of providing confidentiality to free users.
Encryption: How do you get it?
According to Zoom’s blog on the subject, finding the final encryption will vary depending on the type of account you have. If you’re a paid user or have a premium account using other means (school, work, etc.), you don’t need to do anything: Zoom Encryption will work for you as soon as it goes live.
The only time this won’t be is if you manually turn off Zoom encryption on a per-session basis or when your account manager works for you. The previous scenario can be useful if the equipment used by some drivers doesn’t play well with encryption, while this may be due to any reasons.
If you are a free user, it is very complicated. To get Zoom encryption on your unpaid account, you’ll need to go through the one-time ownership verification process. Zoom is not clear on what specific steps it will entail, but it uses “confirming a phone number via text message” as an example. There may be more, but it is reasonable to expect that to be a requirement.
Enhanced encryption is expected to begin in July as the first beta phase. Zoom is not responsible for any timeline beyond this, though it will likely be available to all by the end of the year.
Why was there user spam?
Initially, Zoom faced a lot of backlash by providing end-to-end encryption. This can be a little forgiven if you see how fast Zoom is growing. Prior to the COVID-19 epidemic, Zoom was growing, yes, but at the right speed. But suddenly, millions of people were working from home using Zoom, which may have caused a lot of growing pains.
Finally, the company came along and committed to introducing Zoom encryption at some point in the future. However, the company manager revealed that free users would not use encryption. This decision was not based on the idea that encryption should only be for paid users, but because… well… here’s what:
Free users, of course, we don’t want to offer that [end-to-end encryption – ed]. Because we also want to use it in conjunction with the FBI and local law, in case some people use Zoom with malicious intent (sic).
Obviously, this is not going well for people. It would be one thing if Zoom encryption was premium-tier, but this was something else.
Today’s news that Zoom encryption will be available to all will make people feel better about the work. However, some may have moved on to other applications.