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Zoom Caves In On End-To-End Encryption For Free Users

Zoom has backed down on plans to make end-to-end encryption (E2EE) available only to paid customers, announcing free users will be able to access the feature as well.

Free and paid users can now access E2EE as a technical preview for meetings of up to 200. It will mean that only meeting participants have access to the keys used to encrypt the meeting, with Zoom servers becoming “oblivious relays”.

Jason Lee, Zoom’s CISO, said the company was proud to be rolling out the feature globally from today.

“This has been a highly requested feature from our customers, and we’re excited to make this a reality.

“Kudos to our encryption team who joined us from Keybase in May and developed this impressive security feature within just six months,” he said.

The move follows criticism levelled at Zoom in June when the company insisted it would only offer E2EE to paid users, with CEO Eric Yuan saying on an earnings call at the time that the company was looking to collaborate with the authorities.

“We also want to work together with the FBI, with local law enforcement, in case some people use Zoom for a bad purpose,” he said.

Features such as live transcription and cloud recordings will not be available on encrypted calls, and the function will only work on the desktop client, the Zoom Android app, and Zoom Rooms – not the browser client. The company is waiting on Apple’s approval to bring E2EE to its iOS app.

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