back to article Zoom adds Choose Your Own Routing Adventure to keep chats out of China

Zoom’s security catch-up sprint has seen it announce its users will soon be able to choose where their traffic goes. The new feature will help users in places like Taiwan, where the government banned Zoom after learning traffic could go through its frenemies in Beijing. Zoom’s not nodded to that kind of geopolitics. Instead …

  1. A random security guy Bronze badge

    Only paid accounts? What about end to end encryption?

    Is this a joke? Everything can and will go through Analytics and maybe speech to text.

    Routing with a dubious encryption algorithm, clear text on the server, single key, a virus type installer on Mac, etc.

    OTOH WhatsApp has been able to achieve the lofty goals except that it is owned by Zuch. So there is that. But technically Zoom could use the Signal protocol. But how will they make money? And the Chinese military will not be happy.

  2. MichaelFern

    I think that would be a nice thing to do for starters, considering China likes to play it close to the chest.

  3. MichaelFern

    I think this is possible for Zoom, but yeah, will it be for paid users only or free ones as well.

    1. Korev Silver badge

      From the article:

      Free users will be locked to their nearest data centre and never, ever, routed through China.

      1. David Neil

        Pinky Promise

        I'll only believe if it they pinky promise and cross their heart

        1. Wzrd1

          Re: Pinky Promise

          I believe them.

          But then, I also believe in Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny and Trump's expertise in everything.

  4. TRT Silver badge

    Are Microsoft...

    Supplying multi-resolution video streams then? Because currently the way they do the video trickery sucks balls bandwidth-wise.

  5. EnviableOne Silver badge

    4 or 9 whats the difference

    when you need classroom size meetings, 9 makes no difference, you need multiplexing like Webex/Zoom with 25+ or 30+ if your a state school

  6. MrNigel
    WTF?

    Video voyeurism gone mad

    As someone who first started video calling/conferencing when it was in B&W running over a private wire (or ISDN 2B+D) from a PO studio by the Thames, I am wondering how Zoom has suddenly become a noun in the same manner as Google and Hoover. Aside from the presenter-audience use cases of Teacher-Pupil and PM-Cabinet where has the seemingly mandatory feature of seeing a thumbnail of everyone picking their noses come from? I can only guess it is from social notworking video calling users who have been forced to use video conferencing for WFH reasons for the first time in their short working lives.

    Social VC and Business VC are two different worlds and watching Microsoft trying to turn Teams into a consumer product is not a pretty sight. Given that Skype underpins Teams, why not point all those free 'A' subscriptions over there and let them loose in the playground? I am currently working on a contract with a project team from India, UAE, Europe and USA and have daily Teams conf calls with 10-50 users. The only video we need is the mandatory PowerPoint and Excel screen sharing with the main presenter bravely showing us their lounge wall. Everyone else has a lo-res 2 character tag which moves to the main screen when they speak. No one bothers to switch on their video unless they are showing off their new Teams Custom Background as it rolls out globally.

    Never mind, the world will return to a new normal next year when Zoom usage will go the same way as hand sanitizer and facemask sales and social VC users go back to TikTok and Snapchat on their mobile as they return to physical schooling. Not so sure about Boris and his Cabinet though.....

    1. TRT Silver badge

      Re: Video voyeurism gone mad

      Who's Zoomin' Who?

    2. Steve_Procter

      Re: Video voyeurism gone mad

      @MrNigel, you Luddite you! ;-) waiting til B&W to try video calling. When I first got into video, we had to stare at each other through a hole in t' bottom of yoghurt pots...

      1. MrNigel

        Re: Video voyeurism gone mad

        My first yoghurt end-point memory would be those pyramid shaped Ski pots from back in t'60s when I used to bathe in front of t'coal fire in Granny's parlour.

        1. Steve_Procter

          Re: Video voyeurism gone mad

          Ski yoghurt!? Oooh that was posh. We only had them for birthdays.

          1. TRT Silver badge

            Re: Video voyeurism gone mad

            We used to have to make do with Losley's, a local farm's product that the milkman delivered for 10p a pot. Actually it was quite nice stuff. Even the hazelnut flavour.

    3. Wzrd1

      Re: Video voyeurism gone mad

      Actually, the US DoD is in love with either Tandberg or Cisco VTC systems, where we do get the delight to share nose picking thumbnails.

      I've also worked for civilian companies that used the shared video experience, because it's always wonderful to see someone working for home in their underwear.

      As for voice/text messaging by cell, there's currently an investigation in the US and a couple of other countries over nonexistent N95 masks that were "for sale". The US FBI got involved when they were trying to figure out how to purloin said masks that were ordered for hospitals desperate for masks and they realized that the quantity on offer was double what 3M produced in a year.

      Yeah, the FBI investigated how to steal paid for masks, then figured out that they didn't really exist, it was an international scam.

      What usually happens now is, the shipment gets hijacked into US government custody and sold back to the poor saps that originally paid for them.

  7. StevieP

    As an about to launch Zoom-competitor, i am lovin’ this Zoom-bashing. But are people just enjoying a pile-on, or are they genuinely concerned about China. If so, will these same bashers ensure all their other web traffic goes no-where near China? And will they check every item they plan to purchase via Amazon, etc to ensure it wasn’t made in China?

    1. Wzrd1

      If so, will these same bashers ensure all their other web traffic goes no-where near China?

      I can say authoritatively that the US DoD ensures that quite intensively. Of course, that doesn't stop China and Russia (at least for 99% of breaches) from using a VPN far away from their nation, then hijacking another compromised network to compromise a US DoD network.

      As for purchases, everything that's purchased has a specification book and purchased products have representative samples examined in depth, destructively at times. But, most purchases aren't via Amazon or other low volume sources, as typical purchases run in size from a handful thousand units to millions.

      To be warehoused, then auctioned off at the end of the fiscal year, so that they can reorder new units. Gotta justify that budget!

  8. Not previously required
    Linux

    Rivals?

    I assume that Zoom's rivals have been desperate to dish the dirt on the security issues, given that Zoom is wiping their faces in the dirt. Or am I too cynical to be a Reg reader? Zoom seems to be very balanced geo-politically - Accused of leaking to both China and Facebook at the same time. I don't defend that, hence the penguin. But Skype and WebEx have had security issues in the past too. It seems to be Zoom's general website, not the comms system, that leaks to Facebook. That's no different from every other company I deal with selling my data to large US Corps.

    Five of us tried Zoom, Skype, WebEx - Zoom had the best interface and features. Surprisingly it had the best call quality too. Perhaps Chinese servers are better than US ones? Of course small scale, single trials are .... just that.

    I have had to add Teams to the clients cluttering up my systems, for dealing with officialdom. It is also lacklustre.

    I refuse to use WhatsApp. Anyone wanting me in that sort of texting group has to use Signal. It's not yet clear to me which is the equivalent in the WebConf world. Incidentally I resent the dumbing down Signal is engaged in ....

    1. hoola Bronze badge

      Re: Rivals?

      Exactly, this has only become an issues when rivals started to see the explosive growth of what was a small player and they don't like. it. The point that many use the same technologies appears to be buried or forgotten.

      However you look at it, Zoom is the easiest to use for non-technical people. it does just work and the quality is pretty good. For those expressing incredulity that some of the new options are only available to paying customers, just pay. The cost is a pittance over the competition if you are that concerned or don't use it and try to find another solution that works as well, is free or low costs and does not have similar security problems.

      1. Steve_Procter

        Re: Rivals?

        “[zoom] easiest to use for non-technical people”!? You are kidding, right!

        Far too many tech services are designed by people who live in dark basements and have no idea about “real people”. We’ve got so used to the poor usability on offer that we can no longer be bothered to raise our hands and say “erm actually, no sorry this isn’t actually user-friendly”.

        1. TRT Silver badge

          Re: Rivals?

          Zoom is gorgeously easy to use. Apple-like in its intuitiveness and elegant interface.

          1. Steve_Procter

            Re: Rivals?

            Oh no it isn’t.....

            1. TRT Silver badge

              Re: Rivals?

              Oh yes it is! Though it has developed a tendency towards context variability of late. Different roles see different controls and this can be a bit daunting when "playing on your own" to find out what it can do. Nowhere near as bad as Teams though which has possibly the least consistent UI of all time. Want to hold a video conference in Teams? Better make sure you know the difference between Chat and Channel, how many people you are going to be calling, if it's private or public... the controls jump from top to bottom of the screen, using different icons and there are some circumstances when you can only have a meeting by booking it in the calendar. It's the most confusing piece of garbage I've ever come across. And that's before you even get to live events mode.

  9. razorfishsl Silver badge

    Yep......

    and like there is never going to be an "accident" .. where government or corporate data is run via Beijing........

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