Is Skype Snooping On Your Conversations?

Since launch, Skype has been regarded as secure and private, with its strong encryption and complex peer-to-peer network connections making calls almost impossible to intercept. Since Microsoft bought it out, though, things have been changing — and Slate suggests your privacy may not be what it once was.

Five years ago, Skype was actively against helping law enforcement agencies. It claimed it could not conduct wiretaps because of its "peer-to-peer architecture and encryption techniques". Police forces in Germany were so annoyed they had software teams develop Trojans to help them record suspects' chats.

But recently Skype changed its architecture, and hackers suggested that it would make "lawful interception" of calls easier. Then when Ryan Gallagher from Slate doggedly requested insight from Skype, he was told by a spokesperson that the company "co-operates with law enforcement agencies as much as is legally and technically possible."

That's a big turnaround in stance. When Microsoft took over Skype in 2011, it was granted a patent for "legal intercept" technology designed to "silently copy communication transmitted via the communication session" of VOIP services. It's hard to say for sure if that's been implemented, or what else has changed at Skype since the takeover. It does, however, seem that Skype's independence and determination to make a stand against snooping is changing — for the worse. [Slate]


Comments

    Their service has certainly deteriorated over the past year or so.

    Seriously, what's wrong with lawful interception? All your emails are subjected to that anyways. I wouldn't be bothered so long as the Skype employees are snooping the conversation, which I'm pretty sure is not the case.

    I just installed it for the first time. Snooping aside, it seems less reliable than Google Chat. ..?

      I have been using Skype and Google chat for a long time, and without doubt Skype is so much better both in terms of reliability of the connection and handling fluctuating bandwidth gracefully.

        I prefer Google chat, no matter what computer I log-in on the chat history is stored, and the other person doesn't have to be online for me to receive messages they sent me when I was offline. But I use skype more often as more of my contacts are on skype than gtalk.

    Try google hangout with more people for free

      You think Google isn't going to spy on you? That's the reason why Google makes these services - so that they have more avenues to spy on you.

      No, I find Skype to have more flexibility. Skype can be used for voice chat, almost like team speak without servers. You can block people you may not want to talk to you.

    "But recently Skype changed its architecture, and hackers suggested that it would make “lawful interception” of calls easier."

    That's one way to describe "abiding by the law that requires this".
    Glenn Greenwald had a post a while ago that pointed out the USGov was admonishing Gulf states for banning the Blackberry on the grounds it couldn't be tapped while passing domestic laws that require everything to be wiretap friendly.
    So, you know, what's the premise here? That we should wonder and/or be shocked for each company over a series of years as though this is even in question?

      I've got nothing to hide I've got nothing to hide I've got nothing to hide
      Except I told my cousin about isohunt
      Am I allowed to do that?
      They're coming to get me they're coming to get me

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