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]