My worry about the future of Keybase ๐Ÿ˜Ÿ

When I heard that Zoom had acquired Keybase last week, my initial reaction was that it was a prank.

A bit of background

Keybase is a cryptography-based platform, where you control your private keys and use them to encrypt files, messages and more. It's mostly used by techy people and the privacy-conscious. Personally, I've been a big fan, and user of keybase for the past 4 years.
And Zoom, it seemed to come from nowhere when lockdown started, suddenly it was super popular: it has allowed us to stay in touch with our friends and family, for free and with excellent video quality. But it seems that nearly everyday recently, there's been another critical security issue with Zoom, they don't come across as a company that values the privacy of their users.

My Worries about the future of Keybase

This is an extract from the acquisition article posted on Keybase:

"Initially, our single top priority is helping to make Zoom even more secure. There are no specific plans for the Keybase app yet. Ultimately Keybase's future is in Zoom's hands, and we'll see where that takes us. Of course, if anything changes about Keybaseโ€™s availability, our users will get plenty of notice."

This is what worries me about the above quote:

  • "๐˜–๐˜ถ๐˜ณ ๐˜ด๐˜ช๐˜ฏ๐˜จ๐˜ญ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ต๐˜ฐ๐˜ฑ ๐˜ฑ๐˜ณ๐˜ช๐˜ฐ๐˜ณ๐˜ช๐˜ต๐˜บ ๐˜ช๐˜ด ๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ๐˜ญ๐˜ฑ๐˜ช๐˜ฏ๐˜จ ๐˜ต๐˜ฐ ๐˜ฎ๐˜ข๐˜ฌ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ก๐˜ฐ๐˜ฐ๐˜ฎ ๐˜ฆ๐˜ท๐˜ฆ๐˜ฏ ๐˜ฎ๐˜ฐ๐˜ณ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ด๐˜ฆ๐˜ค๐˜ถ๐˜ณ๐˜ฆ" - Implies, that the KeyBase team will now be working on the Zoom platform, and not Keybase.
  • "๐˜Œ๐˜ท๐˜ฆ๐˜ฏ ๐˜ฎ๐˜ฐ๐˜ณ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ด๐˜ฆ๐˜ค๐˜ถ๐˜ณ๐˜ฆ" - HA! They are pretending Zoom is secure
  • "๐˜›๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ๐˜ณ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ข๐˜ณ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ฏ๐˜ฐ ๐˜ด๐˜ฑ๐˜ฆ๐˜ค๐˜ช๐˜ง๐˜ช๐˜ค ๐˜ฑ๐˜ญ๐˜ข๐˜ฏ๐˜ด ๐˜ง๐˜ฐ๐˜ณ ๐˜ต๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ ๐˜’๐˜ฆ๐˜บ๐˜ฃ๐˜ข๐˜ด๐˜ฆ ๐˜ข๐˜ฑ๐˜ฑ ๐˜บ๐˜ฆ๐˜ต" - this doesn't sound good
  • "๐˜œ๐˜ญ๐˜ต๐˜ช๐˜ฎ๐˜ข๐˜ต๐˜ฆ๐˜ญ๐˜บ ๐˜’๐˜ฆ๐˜บ๐˜ฃ๐˜ข๐˜ด๐˜ฆ'๐˜ด ๐˜ง๐˜ถ๐˜ต๐˜ถ๐˜ณ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ช๐˜ด ๐˜ช๐˜ฏ ๐˜ก๐˜ฐ๐˜ฐ๐˜ฎ'๐˜ด ๐˜ฉ๐˜ข๐˜ฏ๐˜ฅ๐˜ด" - FUCK
  • "๐˜ช๐˜ง ๐˜ข๐˜ฏ๐˜บ๐˜ต๐˜ฉ๐˜ช๐˜ฏ๐˜จ ๐˜ค๐˜ฉ๐˜ข๐˜ฏ๐˜จ๐˜ฆ๐˜ด ๐˜ข๐˜ฃ๐˜ฐ๐˜ถ๐˜ต ๐˜’๐˜ฆ๐˜บ๐˜ฃ๐˜ข๐˜ด๐˜ฆโ€™๐˜ด ๐˜ข๐˜ท๐˜ข๐˜ช๐˜ญ๐˜ข๐˜ฃ๐˜ช๐˜ญ๐˜ช๐˜ต๐˜บ" - Makes it sound like Keybase could one day be discontinued

And from the Zoom blog post:

  • "๐˜ž๐˜ฆ ๐˜ข๐˜ณ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ฆ๐˜น๐˜ค๐˜ช๐˜ต๐˜ฆ๐˜ฅ ๐˜ต๐˜ฐ ๐˜ช๐˜ฏ๐˜ต๐˜ฆ๐˜จ๐˜ณ๐˜ข๐˜ต๐˜ฆ ๐˜’๐˜ฆ๐˜บ๐˜ฃ๐˜ข๐˜ด๐˜ฆโ€™๐˜ด ๐˜ต๐˜ฆ๐˜ข๐˜ฎ ๐˜ช๐˜ฏ๐˜ต๐˜ฐ ๐˜ต๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ก๐˜ฐ๐˜ฐ๐˜ฎ ๐˜ง๐˜ข๐˜ฎ๐˜ช๐˜ญ๐˜บ" - Yup, they bought Keybase just to use their engineers
  • "๐˜›๐˜ฉ๐˜ช๐˜ด ๐˜ข๐˜ค๐˜ฒ๐˜ถ๐˜ช๐˜ด๐˜ช๐˜ต๐˜ช๐˜ฐ๐˜ฏ ๐˜ฎ๐˜ข๐˜ณ๐˜ฌ๐˜ด ๐˜ข ๐˜ฌ๐˜ฆ๐˜บ ๐˜ด๐˜ต๐˜ฆ๐˜ฑ ๐˜ง๐˜ฐ๐˜ณ ๐˜ก๐˜ฐ๐˜ฐ๐˜ฎ ๐˜ข๐˜ด ๐˜ธ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ข๐˜ต๐˜ต๐˜ฆ๐˜ฎ๐˜ฑ๐˜ต ๐˜ต๐˜ฐ ๐˜ข๐˜ค๐˜ค๐˜ฐ๐˜ฎ๐˜ฑ๐˜ญ๐˜ช๐˜ด๐˜ฉ ๐˜ต๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ค๐˜ณ๐˜ฆ๐˜ข๐˜ต๐˜ช๐˜ฐ๐˜ฏ ๐˜ฐ๐˜ง ๐˜ข ๐˜ต๐˜ณ๐˜ถ๐˜ญ๐˜บ ๐˜ฑ๐˜ณ๐˜ช๐˜ท๐˜ข๐˜ต๐˜ฆ ๐˜ท๐˜ช๐˜ฅ๐˜ฆ๐˜ฐ ๐˜ค๐˜ฐ๐˜ฎ๐˜ฎ๐˜ถ๐˜ฏ๐˜ช๐˜ค๐˜ข๐˜ต๐˜ช๐˜ฐ๐˜ฏ๐˜ด ๐˜ฑ๐˜ญ๐˜ข๐˜ต๐˜ง๐˜ฐ๐˜ณ๐˜ฎ" - I don't think they have any intention of creating a "truly private" platform. And the word "attempt" doesn't exactly instill confidence in me
  • "๐˜–๐˜ถ๐˜ณ ๐˜จ๐˜ฐ๐˜ข๐˜ญ ๐˜ช๐˜ด ๐˜ต๐˜ฐ ๐˜ฑ๐˜ณ๐˜ฐ๐˜ท๐˜ช๐˜ฅ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ต๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ฎ๐˜ฐ๐˜ด๐˜ต ๐˜ฑ๐˜ณ๐˜ช๐˜ท๐˜ข๐˜ค๐˜บ ๐˜ฑ๐˜ฐ๐˜ด๐˜ด๐˜ช๐˜ฃ๐˜ญ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ง๐˜ฐ๐˜ณ ๐˜ฆ๐˜ท๐˜ฆ๐˜ณ๐˜บ ๐˜ถ๐˜ด๐˜ฆ ๐˜ค๐˜ข๐˜ด๐˜ฆ, ๐˜ธ๐˜ฉ๐˜ช๐˜ญ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ข๐˜ญ๐˜ด๐˜ฐ ๐˜ฃ๐˜ข๐˜ญ๐˜ข๐˜ฏ๐˜ค๐˜ช๐˜ฏ๐˜จ ๐˜ต๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ฏ๐˜ฆ๐˜ฆ๐˜ฅ๐˜ด ๐˜ฐ๐˜ง ๐˜ฐ๐˜ถ๐˜ณ ๐˜ถ๐˜ด๐˜ฆ๐˜ณ๐˜ด ๐˜ข๐˜ฏ๐˜ฅ ๐˜ฐ๐˜ถ๐˜ณ ๐˜ค๐˜ฐ๐˜ฎ๐˜ฎ๐˜ช๐˜ต๐˜ฎ๐˜ฆ๐˜ฏ๐˜ต ๐˜ต๐˜ฐ ๐˜ฑ๐˜ณ๐˜ฆ๐˜ท๐˜ฆ๐˜ฏ๐˜ต๐˜ช๐˜ฏ๐˜จ ๐˜ฉ๐˜ข๐˜ณ๐˜ฎ๐˜ง๐˜ถ๐˜ญ ๐˜ฃ๐˜ฆ๐˜ฉ๐˜ข๐˜ท๐˜ช๐˜ฐ๐˜ณ ๐˜ฐ๐˜ฏ ๐˜ฐ๐˜ถ๐˜ณ ๐˜ฑ๐˜ญ๐˜ข๐˜ต๐˜ง๐˜ฐ๐˜ณ๐˜ฎ" - When they talk about "balancing" the needs of customers, this implies that they will not be aiming for true end-to-end encryption and anonymity, it could be possible but I doubt Zoom will peruse that path

I know all this is just legal speak, and they have to word it in this way to cover themselves, but too me this is worrying. I'd come to love Keybase over the years, the team behind it are very talented, and have done an amazing job. It's going to be sad to say goodbye, but for now I'm going to enjoy it while I can :)


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