Zoom has become the most popular video conferencing tool during the pandemic across the globe. One of the biggest attraction was its easy to use interface, quick sign up and of course, it’s free. Their growth invariably forced the likes of Google and Microsoft to offer Meet and Teams respectively for free. But in its recent earnings call with investors, Zoom CEO shared a new development that’s likely to deter people from coming to the platform.
Eric Yuan, CEO, Zoom confirmed that Zoom users with free account will not be offered video/audio calls with its encryption standards. This means only the paid users of Zoom will get protection for their calls and recordings they make. And what’s the reason for this decision? Yuan says they want to co-operate with the law enforcement agencies in the United States. “Free users for sure we don’t want to give that because we also want to work together with FBI, with local law enforcement in case some people use Zoom for a bad purpose.”
Complying with law forces
Zoom’s popularity has made it prime target for kind of bad actors, and we’ve already seen episodes of Zoom bombing where strangers jumped into random calls and filtered the screen with inappropriate content. Thankfully, Zoom realised the need for password-centric account sign ups, and we’ve seen more features get added over the time. While it’s understandable the company wants to comply with the law, it shows the company is freely willing to let police investigate with content sourced through its platform.
This puts a big question mark on the security of over 200 million users who’ve signed up on Zoom. The company feels that some bad actors will probably use its platform for wrongdoings, and they want to be held responsible for that. But who’s to say these people won’t buy the paid account to use the secured version of Zoom? That’s a chance, it seems, Yuan and Co. are willing to take.
It’s also because of encryption
Encryption has been an issue for technology companies for many years now. The likes of Apple and WhatsApp are regularly scrutinised for their security policies by the governments, forcing them to ease the standards.
But they’ve stuck to their belives and Zoom is probably categorising itself on the other side of the fence. With Google and Microsoft offerings its secured tools for free, it’s likely that many users will eventually move from Zoom, especially after hearing Yuan speak about his company’s intentions going forward.