Zoom reversed course Wednesday, saying that users with free accounts will receiving end-to-end encryption once the enhanced security feature is released.
In a blog post, CEO Eric Yuan gave an update on the company’s security and encryption plans that apparently now include end-to-end encryption for free users after recently saying only paid users will have their data encrypted at that highest level.
“We are also pleased to share that we have identified a path forward that balances the legitimate right of all users to privacy and the safety of users on our platform,” Yuan wrote. “This will enable us to offer E2EE as an advanced add-on feature for all of our users around the globe – free and paid – while maintaining the ability to prevent and fight abuse on our platform.”
According to Yuan, users with free or basic accounts seeking access to E2E encryption will have to participate in a one-time process that will prompt the user for additional information, like verifying a phone number via text message.
This follows the practice of many other companies who perform similar steps on account creation to reduce the mass creation of abusive accounts, Yuan wrote.
“We are confident that by implementing risk-based authentication, in combination with our current mix of tools — including our Report a User function — we can continue to prevent and fight abuse,” Yuan wrote.
The company also released an updated design of its E2E encryption on GitHub.
Previously, Zoom said it wouldn’t offer the enhanced encryption to free users because the company wouldn’t be able to verify identity since free users don’t need to provide as much information as paid users.
After several weeks of headlines about the company’s security issues earlier this spring, Zoom froze all non-security features and embarked on a 90-day plan to address those issues.
Included on the company’s path to greater security and transparency was acquiring Keybase, a secure messaging service company that is supposed to help Zoom reach that encryption milestone.
Since early May, Keybase and Zoom teams have been integrating to help bring that offering to the platform.