Will Zoom Bring Encryption to the People Who Need It Most? – EFF

This morning, EFF and Mozilla called on Zoom to make their upcoming end-to-end encryption feature available to all 300 million of its users. We published an open letter urging Zooms CEO Eric Yuan not to exclude Zooms free customers from using their upcoming end-to-end encryption feature.

We applaud Zoom for building strong end-to-end encryption into their service. But by limiting this security enhancement to paid accounts, Zoom is denying privacy protections to the participants who may need them the most.

Zoom CEO Eric Yuan defended the decision to withhold strong encryption, saying, Free users for sure we dont want to give [them] that, because we also want to work together with the FBI, with local law enforcement. But many activists rely on Zoom as an organizing tool, including the Black-led movement against police violence. Given the long history of law enforcement targeting Black organizers for unconstitutional surveillance, this access raises serious concerns.

For decades, the DOJ and FBI have argued that their inability to access encrypted communications poses a serious threat to national security. But the idea that compromising on encryption will give special access to U.S. officials is a fallacy. Any mechanism that law enforcement uses to access Zoom users data will be vulnerable to oppressive regimes and other bad actors. We recognize that premium features are a key part of Zooms business model, but we strongly encourage them not to compromise the privacy and security of their users.

The ability to communicate privately is an essential feature of a free society. As more of our communication shifts to video calls, that feature shouldnt be reserved for those who can afford it.

June 8, 2020Eric YuanZoom Video Communications, Inc.

55 Almaden Boulevard, 6th FloorSan Jose, CA 95113

Dear Mr. Yuan,

While we were pleased to see Zooms plans for end-to-encryption, we are extremely surprised and concerned by the news that Zoom plans to offer this protection only to paying customers. We understand that Zoom is rightfully concerned about curbing child sexual abuse material (CSAM), but restricting end-to-end encryption to paid accounts is not the right solution.

As your own growth numbers demonstrate, Zoom is one of the most popular video-call platforms available. Recently, Mozilla conducted a U.S.-based survey that reiterated Zooms popularity among consumers. In this context, Zooms decisions about access to privacy and security features have enormous impact.

We strongly urge you to reconsider this decision given the following considerations:

In Mozillas letter to you in April, we highlighted our conviction that all users should have access to the strongest privacy and security features available. The value of privacy and security is even more critical today, especially for political organizers and protesters who may be the target of government surveillance.

Thank you for your openness to our previous recommendations we especially appreciate that you have already made important changes, such as prioritizing user consent to be unmuted. Our hope is that you consider this feedback and immediately adjust course.


Ashley BoydVice President, Advocacy and EngagementMozilla Foundation

Gennie GebhartAssociate Director of ResearchElectronic Frontier Foundation

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Will Zoom Bring Encryption to the People Who Need It Most? - EFF

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