Zoom video chat’s full encryption reportedly won’t be a free feature

Zoom videoconferencing software

Zoom videoconferencing software has surged in use with the coronavirus pandemic.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Zoom is working on end-to-end encryption to protect privacy on its increasingly popular video chat service, but the company plans to make it a premium feature not available to free accounts, Reuters reported Friday. Alex Stamos, a Zoom security consultant and former chief security officer for Yahoo, confirmed the plan to Reuters but said the plan is subject to change and could include exceptions like nonprofits or political dissidents.

Zoom encrypts connections between the company’s servers and the devices of people using its service. End-to-end encryption, though, secures connections all the way from each device to every other device on a call. It’s available in some Zoom alternatives, like Apple Facetime.

Zoom didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

The company’s business has surged with the coronavirus pandemic and resulting orders to stay home  that increased the demand for online work and personal videoconferencing. However, the increased scrutiny revealed several Zoom security problems and the fact that an earlier Zoom boast of end-to-end encryption was baseless.

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