Zoom Won’t Encrypt Free Calls So It Can Collaborate With FBI

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Zoom, the video conference app whose popularity has rocketed on the back of the global lockdown, won’t be encrypting calls for free users. This way, the company hopes to create space for collaboration with the FBI and other authorities, Zoom CEO Eric Yuan said during a June 2 conference call.

According to Yuan, Zoom’s end-to-end encryption service, which is currently under development, will be available exclusively for corporate clients to prevent bad actors from using the app:

“Free users for sure we don’t want to give that because we also want to work together with FBI, with local law enforcement in case some people use Zoom for a bad purpose.”

Security and privacy problems

Zoom’s problems with privacy and security are well-documented. One of the flaws in the app’s security features has spawned a phenomenon known as “Zoombombing,» where trolls get access to private gatherings and disrupt them.

Additionally, Zoom has been accused of sending data from users of its iOS app to Facebook, and making false claims that video calls were encrypted, while half a million Zoom accounts have recently surfaced on the darknet.

In an apparent attempt to address security issues, last month, Zoom acquired Keybase, an end-to-end encryption start-up that has received funding from a16z, Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian and the Stellar Development Foundation, among others.

However, the latest update suggests that the majority of calls will remain unencrypted.

Blockchain-based alternatives

As reported by Cointelegraph, Zoom’s security failures have stimulated the development of blockchain-based video chat solutions.

One of them is Debrief, a decentralized application launched by Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) pioneer and Vonage co-founder Jeff Pulver in April. Last month, Brave, the privacy-centric cryptocurrency-powered web browser, also launched in-browser video calls featuring end-to-end encryption.