Zoom finally rolls out end-to-end encrypted meetings

Via Wired

Zoom has finally delivered on its promise and has released end-to-end encrypted video conferencing for all users.

The Topic

Zoom, the popular video conferencing tool has faced a number of privacy challenges. It has addressed many of those and committed itself (and its resources) to offering more security and privacy features to users. One of these features? True end-to-end encrypted video conferencing.

Zoom previously claimed it offered E2E encrypted calls but while it wasn’t end to end encrypted, meaning there was a risk any of the meeting details could be leaked or intercepted.

This new offering is actually E2E encrypted, meaning no one, not even Zoom, can access any contents of the meeting – just the participants can.

Enabling E2E encryption on a Zoom meeting requires a few additional steps and certain features will be limited or inaccessible when using this more private meeting feature.

All participants need to have the option enabled, you must have a Zoom account (with a phone number and billing option provided) to access the feature, even though it is available for users on the free plan. Meeting participants can only join a meeting via the desktop or mobile app. E2E encrypted meetings aren’t available via a browser.

When you’re in an E2E encrypted meeting, the host must join before any other participants and the following features/options aren’t available:

  • meeting reactions
  • breakout rooms
  • one on one chat
  • polling
  • live transcription
  • cloud recording

Turning on E2E encryption is available under Security in your Zoom settings. If you have a Zoom account tied to your job or other organization, you may not have access to this, depending on the permissions your admin has set.

Your Move

End to end encrypted communications (offered by apps like Signal) are helpful and offer a significant amount of privacy compared to non-encrypted communications. But in Zoom’s case, the associated limitations may be too much for most Zoom applications. We recommend turning on E2E encryption only when necessary—otherwise, the hassle may be too much.

It may also be a tough sell if you have a large meeting and require all participants to turn on encryption so you may be better off only selecting that option for very specific uses.

To learn more about Zoom’s E2E encryption, check out Wired’s article here.

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