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Zoom Won't Offer Encryption For Free Users So It Can Help The FBI

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Zoom had announced that it wouldn't be offering free users end-to-end encryption and today it explained exactly why it won't be doing that.

Basically it comes down to working with law enforcement.

Zoom's CEO Eric Yuan stated in the latest financial results call that "Free users, for sure we don't want to give that [end-to-end encryption]. Because we also want to work together with FBI and local law enforcement, in case some people use Zoom for bad purpose." The english there isn't great, due to Yuan not being from the US. But basically Zoom wants to weed out those using the service for illegal activities.

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Zoom is not recording your calls

Zoom's security consultant, Alex Stamos took to Twitter to explain this a bit more. After basically saying that Yuan's statement wasn't really that clear.

Stamos explained why Zoom made this decision. Stating that it faces a "difficult balancing act" trying to improve privacy guarantees while "reducing the human impact of the abuse of its product." In which, Stamos is referring to hate speech, exposure to children and other illegal behaviors. Which Zoom has been hit with recently.

Stamos also noted on Twitter that Zoom does not record your calls or your meetings. And no there is no secret recording going on, over on Zoom's end.

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The other major safety issue that Stamos says that Zoom is suffering from is those creating meetings on Zoom that are meant to facilitate really horrible abuse. Typically, these hosts come in from VPNs, using throwaway email addresses, create self-service orgs and a host a handful of meetings before creating a new identity. Which makes it a bit tougher for Zoom to actually catch them.

Stamos says that this won't reduce abuse of Zoom. By most of these users that are repeat offenders are "free" users, as they are creating identities quite often. So by keeping free users without end-to-end encryption it's going to be easier for Zoom to work with law enforcement to catch these people.

Just the latest hurdle for Zoom

This is just the latest hurdle for Zoom, as it has faced a number of issues in the past few months. This is mostly due to the fact that there are so many more people using the service now, compared to before the pandemic started. A lot of people are using Zoom to do meetings and keep in touch with their loved ones.

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Zoom has had quite a bit of security issues, and routing calls through China. Something that Zoom has already addressed and fixed.