Zoom CEO says it won't encrypt free calls because it wants to share them with law enforcement

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2020/06/03/zoom-ceo-says-it-wont-encryp.html


all the development work is done in China, and traffic gets ‘accidentally’ routed through China, so I think we already knew this…


Reminder: Tech is not neutral.

Now the question is… Don’t use free zoom or use the CRAP out of free zoom because we want to DOS them for any ability to easily deal with poring through the videos? Alternately… a few people pay for Zoom using prepaid cards and fake names and then share credentials out like mad?


By Zoom’s logic here then it’s okay for people that do bad things to have privacy as long as Zoom gets paid right?


I would not put any faith in the paid encryption either. It’s just a checkbox for buyers, they obviously are not interested in it in any other respect.


This is exactly why I refused on multiple occasions to use zoom for family meetings. I kept saying they have no concerns about privacy- and this is pretty much the nail in the head.

Tech is not neutral, indeed. To hell with Zoom- Ill never use it. Encrypted everything or do nothing. Im sick of being spied on by a nation of technological voyeurs.


Glad I’m back to using XMPP with Gajim then. Now I can use an encryption plugin. :smiling_imp:


By (insert company’s name) logic it’s okay for people that do bad things to (do bad things) as long as (the company) gets paid.

In Zoom’s case, being transparent with “Johnny Law” for every non-paid use of the service costs them nothing – as long as the users don’t care about privacy, and for that case study look at Facebook – and it has the benefit of allowing them to cozy up to “Johnny Law” like a good lap dog.

“Who’s a good boy? You are Zoom! You’re a good boy!”

The word for this behavior that comes to my mind is “obsequious.”

Now, wait for everyone to abandon Zoom over this… wait for it… don’t hold your breath though; that would be silly.


I have to fulfill an agreement to teach a workshop over zoom this weekend. After that I will delete it without a single regret. Wondering how to make sure all the code is truly deleted from my Macbook Pro.

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The headline and article are not completely correct, though the Zoom CEO’s comments were trite and tone-deaf. The full story is a little more nuanced and involved competing security concerns.

Alex Stamos tells it here: https://twitter.com/alexstamos/status/1268062452123496450

and here: https://twitter.com/alexstamos/status/1268061790954385408

TL;DR: Free accounts are sometimes used for criminal activity. Paid accounts are less of a problem, presumably because they’re tied to an identity via the payment method.


Thanks for sharing. People really are exaggerating the concerns here.

Also, every Zoom competitor cooperates with law enforcement investigations. Do people really think Microsoft and Google aren’t providing the same level of access as Zoom is?


And that’s how you lose a user base.

Can you use the browser version rather than the standalone app?

I’ve had to use it on occasion and the browser seems to work okay most of the time; but yeah I hate Zoom’s creepy and broken software - it’s so bad it’s made me think of Skype for Business in a more positive light.

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Ah yes, XMPP with plugins. A great messaging solution for people to enjoy poking themselves in their own eye.


Yuan said that, for the foreseeable future, security will continue to be one of the business’s primary focuses.

“I truly believe video is the new voice, video is the new form of communication,” he boasted. “But for now, our top priority is to make sure we keep ourselves up, our top priority is to keep the service up and double down and triple down on privacy and security.”

Yet, despite that pledge from Zoom’s chief exec, we will reiterate: the end-to-end encryption isn’t coming to the free version of Zoom, partly to help the Feds intercept people’s calls.

“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,” Yuan told analysts on the conference call.

You can find more context on the end-to-end encryption issue and limitations here, from Zoom’s security adviser Alex Stamos, the former Facebook and Yahoo ! executive.

Stamos sure can pick 'em.

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Spoiler alert for Mr. Yuan: the bad guys will simply just buy a subscription to the higher tiers of the service which support encryption/stronger encryption. It’s not exactly expensive.

But my belief has always been that security should be for all, not just for those that can afford to splash out the cash.

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For now, I will maintain my paid Zoom subscription. It continues to be one of the only conferencing platforms I’ve ever used that works somewhat reliably. I will not use it to communicate highly proprietary information. If I need to do so, I will use a service with a better security record.

Different use cases, different tools. If you are concerned with the privacy of your communications to the point where you feel you have to immediately cease use of Zoom for all scenarios including personal family calls, you also ought to cease speaking on a telephone, land line or mobile, immediately.

And importantly, Zoom is only talking about it’s E2EE, which isn’t even an option, and not an option with almost any other service.

This has not been reported properly.

I agree; I never say anything on a phone that I would not want overheard by a government agent. But my main concern with Zoom is facial recognition software.

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Why is that a concern, specifically? Genuinely curious, would love to hear your take.