In an earlier blog, I wrote that Zoom video and computer audio meetings aren’t end-to-end encrypted. With end-to-end encryption, Zoom meetings can’t be accessed by Zoom employees, and therefore, Zoom meetings are transport encrypted.
Late last week, Reuters Technology News reported that Zoom plans to roll out end-to end encryption of video calls hosted by paying clients and institutions such as schools but not by users of its free consumer accounts. The reason for not providing end-to-end encryption for every meeting is that Zoom’s trust and safety team can’t add itself as a participant in gatherings to tackle abuse in real time.
There is another problem with end-to-end encryption. No one but the participants and their devices can see and hear what is happening. Thus, people who call in from a telephone line can’t join the meeting.
As the Technology New article points out, from a business perspective, it is hard to offer an expensive encryption service for free. Zoom says its encryption plan is “subject to change” and is “a work is progress.”
If you use the free Zoom product, just remember that Zoom employees or others could join your meeting without registering. If you don’t care who hears what is said, that may be OK. If you want your conversation to be confidential, pay for Zoom or consider using other more privacy protective alternatives. A recent Vedder Price Blog catalogued these alternatives:
- A plain old conference call
- If all participants have Apple devices, FaceTime
- Skype (which is no longer supported by Microsoft)
- Microsoft Teams (for which there used to be a monthly charge but right now is free) integrates with Office 365
- If you make use of G Suite products, Google Hangouts integrates with them.