Zoom, the incredibly popular but oftentimes controversial video-conferencing app, will begin rolling out end-to-end encryption (E2EE) next week. Announcing the planned update in a blog post, the company said that the feature will be available as a technical preview, which means users are expected to offer feedback for the first 30 days.

Once the feature is fully implemented, the company says that both free and paid users from around the world will be able to host up to 200 participants in end-to-end encrypted video-conferences on Zoom, bringing increased privacy and enhanced security. The company says that the rollout will be a phased one, with the first phase about to be set into motion next week.

Zoom says that its E2EE will use the same powerful GCM encryption that’s already implemented as part of the app’s current security setup, with the only difference being how those encryption keys are created and distributed.

Explaining the process, Zoom said: “In typical meetings, Zoom’s cloud generates encryption keys and distributes them to meeting participants using Zoom apps as they join. With Zoom’s E2EE, the meeting’s host generates encryption keys and uses public key cryptography to distribute these keys to the other meeting participants. Zoom’s servers become oblivious relays and never see the encryption keys required to decrypt the meeting contents.”

The announcement was made Wednesday at the 2020 edition of the company’s annual ‘Zoomtopia’ event, where it also announced a new integrated ‘OnZoom’ platform for classes and events, as well as the ‘Zapps’ platform to allow users to integrate third-party apps with video conferences.

Zoom originally announced plans to implement E2EE earlier this year in a move that the company claimed will provide an additional layer of security “on top of Zoom’s already strong encryption and advanced security features”. According to the company, E2EE will offer “robust protections to help prevent the interception of decryption keys that could be used to monitor meeting content”.

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