I personally don't make phone calls or even IM by Skype anymore, not saying I haven't called anyone from their in years, but I know a lot of people do and thought I'd pass this article along and suggest you do the same!
There was a wildly terrifying story published late Friday on Slate that didn’t get much attention because of the time of the week it was released.
Ryan Gallagher – lays out how Microsoft (MSFT) seems to have made some subtle and (to most) imperceptible changes to the popular Skype calling service that allows it to eavesdrop on all of your calls going forward. (Forbes contributor Anthony Wing Kosner flagged the service changes in an earlier post published July 18.)
Although it’s not completely clear, some seem to think that Microsoft may have made the changes either from or in anticipation of pressure from various government entities.
As Gallagher points out, “in June <2011>, Microsoft was granted a patent for ‘legal intercept’ technology designed to be used with VOIP services like Skype to ‘silently copy communication transmitted via the communication session.’”
Gallagher tried several times last week to confirm that Microsoft had changed Skype’s policies and technologies to allow for accessing all communications. He got no response, which strongly suggests that they are able to do this. It’s also important to note that Skype/Microsoft denied the allegation that the change to its architecture this Spring had anything to do with surveillance, according to the Slate article.
Why is this so significant?
Most Skype users are still under the legacy impression that Skype communications are private — more private than even their regular old phone conversations.
If this has changed since the Microsoft acquisition, it hasn’t been overtly communicated to users. It’s unclear why, but presumably Microsoft worries that Skype’s meteoric growth would be stunted if more people knew about this privacy adjustment made behind their backs.
Since the Microsoft purchase, it has been heavily promoted to Facebook (FB) users as an additional communications tool within the Facebook platform. Yet, new sign-ups to the Skype service are also likely not aware of the capability