Reports coming in from Zoom’s security consultant Alex Stamos suggest that the video conferencing firm intends to improve security encryption for paying clients and institutions, but not for users with free accounts.
The American communications technology company shared its plans with civil liberties groups and activists against child-sex abuse on Thursday. These plans are subject to change and it is unclear which nonprofit organizations would fit for such increased security for video conferences.
Zoom has observed global acceptance of its service increase during coronavirus shutdowns but has come under growing pressure over vulnerabilities in the app’s software encryption. The company has been sued amid allegations it hid defects in its app and has witnessed instances of online trolls creep in and disturb web meetings with abuse and pornography.
The organization is working to develop security as well as significantly enhancing their trust and safety.
Full encryption for every conference would leave Zoom’s trust and safety team helpless to add themselves as a participant in gatherings to stop exploitation in real-time. An end-to-end model, which means no one but the members and their devices can see and hear what is happening, would also have to eliminate people who call in from a telephone line.
From a commercial viewpoint, it is difficult to gain revenue while offering a complex and expensive encryption service for free. Facebook is preparing to offer fully encrypt Messenger, but it makes immense amounts of money from its other services.
Other providers of encrypted messages either price business users or act as nonprofits, such as the creators of Signal.