Instant messaging platforms such as WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger rely on end-to-end encryption to keep your conversations secure, even from law enforcement officials. As for Zoom, well, you’ll have to pay if you want that level of security for your video calls. And the main reason behind it – or so says the company – is to keep bad actors in check.
“Free users, for sure, we don’t want to give that [end-to-end encryption]. Because we also want to work it together with FBI and local law enforcement, in case some people use Zoom for bad purpose,” Zoom CEO Eric Yuan reportedly said in the company’s latest earnings call for Q1 2020. What this means is paid users will get the benefit of end-to-end encryption, but free users won’t.
Alex Stamos, who currently works as a security advisor for the company, explained that Zoom is trying to discourage malicious parties from using throwaway emails and abusing the platform by making their conversations accessible to law enforcement officials. He noted that this is a “difficult balancing act for Zoom”, but the company expects to bring down abusive use by keeping its end-to-end encryption security behind a paywall.