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We recently covered some of the most user-friendly free video conferencing platforms, but we also know that security is a significant concern for many attorneys. Below we discuss the most common form of protection for online communication, which platforms offer it, and a few other tips.
End-to-end encryption basically prevents others from "eavesdropping" on data while it is in transit between users. It scrambles the data so that only the sender and receiver can decipher it. This type of encryption makes mass hacking or surveillance much more difficult, sometimes to the chagrin of law enforcement. Actual end-to-end encryption hides the contents of a message from everyone except the sender and receiver - including the company providing the platform. But more on that later.
Apple users out there are in luck - FaceTime already utilizes end-to-end encryption for video chats. But, of course, this means both you and the client or colleague you are contacting must have access to Apple products.
WhatsApp, the internationally popular messaging platform now owned by Facebook, also offers end-to-end encryption for both messages and calls. It also allows for file sharing and uses Wifi instead of your device's data. The best part? It's free.
Wire, arguably the most secure video platform, uses end-to-end encryption with different encryption keys for each message. However, it is a paid, subscription-based platform.
With any video conferencing platform, be sure to check what kind of security the platform offers. In some cases, end-to-end encryption is only available for paid versions, or it might cover messages but not audio and video.
Zoom, for example, has run into issues with privacy of late despite being one of the most prolific video conferencing platforms. First, the end-to-end encryption only worked when all participants connected using computer audio instead of calling in. Then, as it turns out, it wasn't true end-to-end encryption. Zoom has access to the data going back and forth.
It's possible Zoom will address these issues in the coming weeks, as the use of the platform skyrockets. In any case, those concerned about keeping client information safe on video platforms just have to do a little research before choosing which one to use.