Now Zoom Is Giving Everyone Encryption for Free

Non-paying Zoom users can expect encryption, if they share some info

Zoom has had its share of privacy and security issues. The reversal of a decision to give encryption only to paying customers is an important concession for the millions of users on the service today.

Zoom Video Chat
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A month after rolling out end-to-end encryption for paying customers only, the popular video chat service Zoom is set to make it available to all customers, free and paid.

Details: Since the start of the Pandemic and an unprecedented shift to working at home and social distancing, Zoom has enjoyed a meteoric rise and some near flameouts as customers discovered numerous security and privacy breaches. Since then, the company has been working on a variety of security upgrades including end-to-end encryption.

Why encryption? End-to-end encryption means no one can slide in between a video chat and hijack the stream, potentially viewing the contents and participants on their own uninvited device.

Why the turnaround? Zoom got some heat in May when it announced that only paying customers get encryption. In a blog post, the company said it "identified a path forward that balances the legitimate right of all users to privacy and the safety of users on our platform."

There's a catch: If you want Zoom encryption, you must give Zoom something. Zoom may ask for a phone number so it can send you a text to verify that you are who you say you are.

Encryption changes things: Some Zoom functions, like the ability to add a land line caller to the meeting will be disabled. You can, however, toggle encryption on and off on a per-meeting basis.

When can I get it: Zoom starts beta testing the new feature in July.

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