Zoom Video Communications Inc (NASDAQ:ZM) announced on Wednesday that it will work towards delivering end-to-end encryption for all its users, thus reversing its decision to only provide encryption to paying customers.
The recent announcement highlights the company’s U-turn on its previous announcement, in which it stated that end-to-end encryption would only be provided to paying users. This statement received a lot of backlash as many saw it as a backhanded way of forcing users to start paying for the services. Non-paying customers would not have their video calls encrypted, thus leaving them exposed to spying from malicious parties and even federal organizations like the CIA.
Most of the criticism that may have helped influence a change in the encryption decision was from a civil rights group that advocates for user privacy. Evan Greer, a director at a digital rights advocacy group called Fight for the Future, stated that user privacy should not be a privilege that is only accessible to the rich but should instead be treated as a basic right.
“We have identified a path forward that balances the legitimate right of all users to privacy and the safety of users on our platform,” stated Zoom’s CEO Eric Yuan in a recent statement.
Zoom still wants to remain on top as a favorite for users
Zoom rose to fame at the height of the coronavirus pandemic as one of the best, if not the best, teleconferencing and video-conferencing solution as people worked from home. However, the privacy issue came up, forcing the company to strategize on implementing end-to-end encryption for more user protection and privacy. However, the company sought to provide encryption for paying customers, while justifying the decision to leave others without encryption as a move to collaborate with the authorities.
The heavy criticism that the company has arguably been a driving force in the company’s decision to extend the encryption courtesy to all its users. It may have also been supported by the fear that failing to do so would make it lose favor with people and pave the way for the competition to gain traction. Other major companies have also been working on providing solutions that will rival Zoom, especially now that the need for such as become so apparent.