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Zoom has finally announced its end-to-end encryption (E2EE) capabilities will be made available to all users, significantly enhancing the security of video and voice calls.

With strong criticism and even petitions facing the company when it suggested that this feature would only be available for paid users, it is now implementing a phased 4 week roll out that all users can feedback on across free packages and enable as and when they wish; all meeting participants have to join from the Zoom desktop client, mobile app, or Zoom Rooms to use and enable the feature.

What will the E2EE offer?

“End-to-end encryption is another stride toward making Zoom the most secure communications platform in the world,” said Zoom CEO Eric S. Yuan. “This phase of our E2EE offering provides the same security as existing end-to-end-encrypted messaging platforms, but with the video quality and scale that has made Zoom the communications solution of choice for hundreds of millions of people and the world’s largest enterprises.”

This has been a great move for users across the world who have adapted to video conferencing to conduct meetings and need the option of in-class security, which shouldn’t just be limited to the wealthy.

Is it applicable across all features?

The slight drawback of the beta testing at the moment is that it doesn’t allow all features of Zoom to be enabled if the E2EE is enabled. Allowing this version of Zoom’s E2EE in meetings disables certain features, including joining before host, cloud recording, streaming, live transcription, Breakout Rooms, polling, 1:1 private chat, and meeting reactions.

Whilst, this move will be a great move for users, The Five Eyes – the intelligence alliance – has called for tech firms to engineer backdoors into end-to-end and device encryption.

How is this in line with public safety?

The Five Eyes nations called on tech firms like Apple and Facebook to find a way to accede to law enforcement requests for access to encrypted data on suspects. As it stands, they can do neither this nor police their own platforms for content that violates terms of service, the governments argued.

“We reiterate that data protection, respect for privacy and the importance of encryption as technology changes and global internet standards are developed remain at the forefront of each state’s legal framework,” concluded the statement.

“However, we challenge the assertion that public safety cannot be protected without compromising privacy or cybersecurity. We strongly believe that approaches protecting each of these important values are possible and strive to work with industry to collaborate on mutually agreeable solutions.”

Previously, Zoom’s stance was in line with The Five Eyes’ request as it only allowed for paid users to have the ability to secure conversations. But with 19,000 internet users petitioning that criminals could just bypass checks by paying for the service and as it could leave activists and charities vulnerable, the new rollout could leave Zoom in a rock and hard place, dragging them into a conflict with Western governments, tech firms, and user privileges.