With the COVID-19 pandemic, most of the world’s movement has stopped but the work has not. And hence to keep the work going on, Zoom App took the center of the stage to provide the space for virtual meetings with as many members as possible. This made Zoom App a household name as it started to be used widely in every virtual workspace and classrooms.
But with the advancement, came the hazard. The security options of this App have made the users upset. There are a lot of social miscreants who risk the lives of participants of the app. Therefore strong encryption is a must-have for this Zoom App to keep its users satisfied and secured.
On Thursday civil liberties groups and child-sex abuse fighters spoke to the security officials and their discussion has led the Alex Stamos, the security consultant of Zoom, to confirm this news on Friday. They are headed towards providing encryption services to the users but it will deal with only the paying users.
Zoom provides over 300 million meeting calls everday that too without registration. So encryption is not a bad idea but there still lies the problem of political dissidents who could misuse this encryption. Looking at these precarious situation the Alex Stamos has said that the plan is subject to changes. So the discussion is still ongoing.
The discussion, over call, with the officials, have resulted in a mixed reaction as Gennie Gebhart, a researcher with the Electronic Frontier Foundation has voiced her concern that Zoom should provide protected videos. To this Jon Callas, a technology fellow of the American Civil Liberties Union has retorted that this will compromise the security of the users on a different. There are sexual predators who can misuse this security to avoid detection. Hence Callas suggests that charging money for encryption will solve this issue as we need to fight the real bad thing of society.
A lot of institutions banned Zoom as they have undergone a lot of security breaches and this made Zoom hire Alex Stamos to join in their efforts to solve the matter. Then they released a technical paper that spoke briefly about the encryption plans without much details about it’s implemention.
Mr. Stamos is an ex-security official of Facebook and he understands the problems of real-time misuse of the Apps. He reported that if there is a provision of end-to-end encryption then the security officials themselves cannot enter the call or protect the users if there is any danger lurking there. He says, “The CEO is looking at different arguments. The current plan is paid customers plus enterprise accounts where the company knows who they are.”
Providing encryption services for free is not a successful business strategy for Zoom unlike Facebook that already earns a lot through other apps and complete encryption for messenger won’t harm its business. But at the same time, there needs to be an option that allows the users to be known by the officials to distinguish between the real and fake users who may resort to unfair means.
U.S. Federal Trade Commission is already investigating the former claims of security by Zoom. Even the Justice Department and some members of Congress are vehemently disapproving of strong encryption. As of now, we can only wait to see what course does this matter of eminent importance takes to tackle the imminent problems.