Zoom will start rolling out end-to-end encryption next week. The company plans to begin with a technical preview to get feedback from users in the first 30 days. After that, it will follow phase 1 with three more stages before fully launching.
The announcement was made on Wednesday as part of the Zoomtopia event.
During the event, the company also launched a new integrated platform suited for class and events use. Another announcement was the new Zapps platform that will directly bring third-party apps into the main video calls component.
Borne of controversy
End-to-end encryption has been a long time coming for the company after video communication created some controversy earlier in 2020. The company revealed back then that they would only make E2EE available for those on a paid plan.
Privacy groups and advocates were not happy with this decision and argued that basic security as a function should not be a premium feature.
Zoom was forced to backtrack their strange stance and promise to bring functionality to all users. The point of Zoom’s original plan was to try and curb bad actors who may mass-create abusive accounts.
It’s about time
The proposed E2EE builds on the existing GCM encryption. However, instead of using Zoom’s servers to manage the encryption process, the meeting host generates the keys and uses public-key cryptography to distribute the keys to invited participants.
Zoom will consequently have no knowledge or access to the keys that decrypt each video chat’s contents. The users generate and store the keys locally on their respective devices.
Users will see a small green shield logo in the top-left corner of the screen, indicating that E2EE protects the call, and all participants can see and check the host’s security code.