New campaign calls for Zoom to (actually) implement end to end encryption to keep people safe

Posted April 2, 2020, 8:38 PM

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 2, 2020
Contact: 978-852-6457, press@fightforthefuture.org 

Digital rights group Fight for the Future, known for organizing massive online protests for net neutrality and Internet privacy, has launched a new campaign calling for video conferencing service Zoom to implement default end-to-end encryption on all video, audio, and chat content. 

See the campaign here.

Zoom has come under fire in recent weeks for numerous privacy and security issues, laid bare by the platform’s explosion in popularity during the COVID-19 pandemic, as people rely on video conferencing for everything from business meetings to school to therapy. 

The company responded to criticism this week by updating its privacy policy and implementing a number of important changes that Fight for the Future and other advocates had previously called for, including: committing to issue a transparency report, fixing its malware-like install process, and eliminating the creepy “attention tracking” feature that enabled companies to monitor employees in invasive ways.

It’s great that Zoom is starting to clean up its act. But the company has yet to commit to the single most important thing it could do to keep people safe right now: implementing default end-to-end encryption on all its video conference calls. Zoom misleadingly claimed for years that it was using end-to-end encryption. In fact, Fight for the Future stopped using the app in 2017 when we looked into it and discovered that this wasn’t true. Zoom has now admitted as much, and apologized for the “confusion.” Without end-to-end encryption, Zoom meetings will never truly be safe. And now that the service has exploded in popularity, law enforcement agencies, hackers, and harassers will be eager to exploit any vulnerability they can find. 

“We don’t need Zoom’s apologies. We need them to actually implement the type of security measures needed to keep people safe,” said Evan Greer (she/her), Deputy Director of Fight for the Future, “They’ve said that they are pivoting to focus on user privacy and security, and I want to believe them. It’s time for them to take their previously misleading claims and make them true. Zoom implementing end-to-end encryption by default is perhaps the single biggest thing that any company could do right now to protect people’s online safety during the COVID-19 crisis. I hope the engineers who work there realize the power that they have and the importance of the decisions they make over the next several weeks. Strong encryption saves lives. It’s needed now more than ever. Zoom has a chance to lead the way. I hope, for the sake of the children using this for school, the therapists using this to treat patients, the health officials using this to share confidential information, that they do the right thing.”

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