Video conferencing service Zoom has been quite the roller coaster ride over the last several months marked by serious flaws, misleading encryption claims, and massive user growth. Now after previously planning to keep end-to-end encryption as just a feature for paying customers, the company has reversed course and says free users will see it arrive in a beta coming in July alongside paid accounts.

When Zoom first announced that end-to-end encryption (E2EE) wouldn’t be arriving for free users, it used the weak excuse of wanting to prevent illegal use while paying for an account would enable “illegal use.”

In a turnaround, Zoom detailed today’s news on E2EE for its video calls in a blog post (via The Verge). Zoom shared where its work stands on GitHub and announced that E2EE will come to “all of our users around the globe – free and paid” that will come as an optional “advanced add-on.”

Today, Zoom released an updated E2EE design on GitHub. We are also pleased to share that we have identified a path forward that balances the legitimate right of all users to privacy and the safety of users on our platform. This will enable us to offer E2EE as an advanced add-on feature for all of our users around the globe – free and paid – while maintaining the ability to prevent and fight abuse on our platform.

Here are more specifics:

  • We plan to begin early beta of the E2EE feature in July 2020.
  • All Zoom users will continue to use AES 256 GCM transport encryption as the default encryption, one of the strongest encryption standards in use today.
  • E2EE will be an optional feature as it limits some meeting functionality, such as the ability to include traditional PSTN phone lines or SIP/H.323 hardware conference room systems. Hosts will toggle
  • E2EE on or off on a per-meeting basis. Account administrators can enable and disable E2EE at the account and group level.

Are you planning to use end-to-end encryption with Zoom as soon as it’s available? Or have you or your company moved on to another service already? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

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