Patents are usually either completely mundane or kinda far-fetched. Rarely are they entirely ominous, as is the case with one Microsoft just filed a method for a third-party to “silently record [a]communication” – say, one on Skype.
We don't actually have to surmise Skype, as Microsoft's filing names the recently acquired VOIP darling by name. The patent's an attempt to address the fact that, in Microsoft's words, "Sometimes, a government or one of its agencies may need to monitor communications between telephone users." However, "Traditional techniques for silently recording telephone communication may not work correctly with VoIP and other network-based communication technology." That's a problem, for some. So Microsoft wants to make it easy. Their method outlines a means of modifying a VOIP data stream in a way that could siphon it off to a recording agent (say, the cops) without detection or disruption.