Zoom has attracted millions of the free and paying customers amid the pandemic, in part because users could join a meeting – something that now happens 300 million times a day – without registering.
Video conferencing provider Zoom plans to strengthen encryption of video calls hosted by paying clients & institutions such as schools, but not by users for its free consumer accounts, a company official said on Friday. The company, whose business has boomed with the covid-19 pandemic, discussed the move on a call with “civil liberties groups and child-sex abuse fighters on Thursday, and Zoom security consultant Alex Stamos” confirmed on Friday.
In an interview, Stamos said that the plan was subject to change and it was not yet clear , if any, nonprofits or other users, such as political dissidents, might qualify for accounts allowing more secure video meetings. He added that a combination of technologically, safety and business factors went into the plan, which drew mixed reactions from privacy advocates.
Zoom has attracted millions of free and paying customers amid in the covid-19, in part because users could join a meeting – something that now happens 300 million times a day – without registering. But that has allowed opportunities for troublemakers to slip into meetings, sometimes after pretending to be invitees.
“Gennie Gebhart”, a researcher with the” Electronic Frontier Foundation” who was on Thursday’s call, said she hoped Zoom would change course and offer protected video more widely. But Jon Callas, a technology fellow of the American Civil Liberties Union, said the strategy seemed a reasonable compromise.
Technological & Safety experts and law enforcement have warned that sexual predators and other criminals are increasingly day by day using encrypted communications to avoid detection. “Those of us who are doing secure communication believe we need to do things about the real horrible stuff,” said Callas, who previously sold paid encryption services.