EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS

08.02.12

Microsoft Skype Admits Its Servers Store Private Messages and Support Surveillance

Posted in Microsoft at 11:43 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Sign

Summary: Microsoft helps confirm what publications have been claiming about Skype

FIRST came speculations, then came supporting source code, then came proof from news sites, and now comes confirmation from Microsoft itself.

“Microsoft first denied it, then people became sceptical (Microsoft has a history of lying)”One Linux/BSD site called it “one more reason not to use Skype”. To quote: “Even though Skype for Linux is unlike most applications available on any Linux installation, that is, it is a proprietary application, it has long been a popular chat and VoIP application for many users, not for free software purists, but for those that do not care about the core philosophies of free software.

“If you belong to that group, that is, if any of the core principles of free software does not come into play in your decision to use or not use a software, the latest news about Skype should make you think twice about using it.

“In a recent article published in the The Washington Post, Craig Timberg and Ellen Nakashima reports that “Skype … has expanded its cooperation with law enforcement authorities to make online chats and other user information available to police…””

We wrote about it repeatedly and summarised the issues. Microsoft first denied it, then people became sceptical (Microsoft has a history of lying):

The accusation that started all of this was the changes to Skype’s architecture. Gillett says that Skype made the changes “to provide the best possible product to our users.” He says that the company was already in the process of moving supernodes to the cloud long before they were acquired by Microsoft.

As for their cooperation with law enforcement, Gillett claims that their policy has not changed since 2005. They will accomodate law enforcement when it “follows appropriate procedures” and they “respond where legally required and technically feasible.”

The move to in-house hosting does not give Skype the ability to monitor or record your conversations. The in-house servers were only added help establish calls. The data that’s transferred during calls (audio and video) are only passed between the two Skype clients and never through their servers.

There are 3 admissions there. The first is that more inter-communication is being moved to Microsoft servers, just after Microsoft took over (it doesn’t matter when it was first planned). Microsoft also admits that it is giving authorities access to Skype communications. Thirdly, here is the key part:

The company addressed the claims from the Washington Post that said Skype was actively monitoring instant messages on Skype. Gillett does say that messages are stored on their servers temporarily if the message can’t get through to another user. The key word is temporarily as they are never hosted on their servers for that long. They will of course respond to legitimate law enforcement requests whenever possible in regards to instant messages.

They basically confirm that the reports are true and in all three cases (3 confirmations of speculations) they add some excuse to distract from the admission. Here is the post from Microsoft for those who want to swallow all the spin. Tim, my co-host, writes that:

If we also look towards the allegation of snooping – which has hit the mainstream press, we have to consider that if it is true, then its hardly a secret and people are going into Skype with full knowledge of the allegations towards it. If they choose to accept that caveat in return for speaking with their contacts, then fine, there is no issue – as long as they are aware of the implications of using.

For those who at least wish to know the facts about Skype privacy, all of this is relevant.

VoIP is gaining traction and since code is law, as Larry Lessig put it, we must ensure that some privacy in phone conversation is preserved. Cellular networks already compromised some of this privacy.

When it comes to E-mail, the NSA is getting copies of everything and encryption of E-mail is the exception rather than the norm. Using Hotmail Microsoft has been spying on people for advertisers, profiling users and non-users (who write to Hotmail users) by their identities. Hotmail is being killed now (as a brand) to further promote Skype surveillance:

Microsoft is overhauling its free webmail service, dropping the Hotmail brand it has used since acquiring the product in 1998, and adopting the name Outlook.com.

The revamped service will help sort messages as they arrive and allow users to make internet calls on Skype.

So as we noted before, Microsoft is to store copies of people's written communications and also phonecalls. Do you trust Microsoft?

Share this post: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Reddit
  • co.mments
  • DZone
  • email
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • NewsVine
  • Print
  • Technorati
  • TwitThis
  • Facebook

If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

Pages that cross-reference this one

2 Comments

  1. mcinsand said,

    August 2, 2012 at 11:51 am

    Gravatar

    Thanks for pointing out Jitsi! No more skype on my PC!

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    When I reviewed many SIP apps I found the pre 1.0 Jitsi release (called SIP Communicator at the time) a little buggy.

What Else is New


  1. World IP Day, a Propaganda Opportunity for Patent Maximalists, is Becoming More About Feminism

    The annual nonsense which is called "World IP Day" is being put in a dress for no purpose other than giving a moralistic aspect to it -- one that patent maximalists (predominantly male) do not deserve



  2. Britain Has Not Fully Completed Unified Patent Court (UPC) Ratification and It Remains Incompatible With Brexit

    Team Battistelli and Team UPC pretend that UPC has gotten some sort of 'green light', but actually this could not be further from the truth



  3. With Unified Patent Court (UPC) on Its Death Throes, Team UPC Now Resorts to Promoting Pertinent Parts of the Agreement (UPCA)

    The latest writings about the Unitary Patent and agenda related to it, courtesy of the same people, firms and Web sites that spent several years lobbying for the UPC (i.e. for their own wallets)<



  4. Reporting Benoît Battistelli Before He Too 'Pulls a Željko Topić'

    The media is full of EPO-sponsored puff pieces about the EPO (very soon Joff Wild and Battistelli will promote software patents again), so we encourage readers to contact authorities in France and tell them what Battistelli has been doing in (or to) the European Patent Office (EPO)



  5. Links 26/4/2018: KStars 2.9.5, Ubuntu 18.04 LTS, NetBSD 8.0 RC1

    Links for the day



  6. Battistelli Misuses EPO Budget to Saturate the European Media With Puff Pieces About His Event

    The latest examples of 'synthetic' coverage or fluff about Battistelli's expensive event that he cryptically and mysteriously chose to have at his other workplace in Saint-Germain-en-Laye



  7. Battistelli's EPO Continues to Promote Software Patents and Even Pays the Media to Play Along, Impacting Other Continents

    With silly new terms such as "4IR" (the EPO used to say "ICT", "CII", "Industry 4.0" etc.) Team Battistelli is hoping to make software patents look/sound acceptable, honourable and inherently innovative or "revolutionary"



  8. Links 25/4/2018: Ubuntu 18.04 Coming Shortly, Fedora 28 Next Month

    Links for the day



  9. Koch Brothers and Big Oil Could Not Buy the Decisions in Oil States, SAS

    In Oil States Energy Services v Greene’s Energy Group, a case which Koch-funded think tanks meddled in (including those whose panel guests send me threatening legal letters), ends up with dissent from a Koch-connected Justice citing or quoting those very same Koch-funded think tanks



  10. The European Patent Office (EPO) Wastes a Lot of Money on External PR Agencies for Battistelli's 'Heist'

    The EPO's management is once again scattering/throwing EPO budget at PR agencies and media companies (publishers/broadcasters) to disseminate a bunch of puff pieces and virtually ignore the very obvious conflict of interest, which should be a scandal on par with that of FIFA (resulting in the arrest of its boss, Mr. Blatter)



  11. Today's EPO is Not Compatible With the Law and It's Grossly Incompatible With Truth and Justice

    Today, once again, the EPO openly advocates software patents while media promotes loopholes (notably hype waves)



  12. Quick Mention: As Expected, the US Supreme Court Cements PTAB's Role With Trump-Appointed Gorsuch Dissenting

    Oil States has been decided and it's very good news for the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB); even Conservatives-leaning Justices support PTAB



  13. Links 24/4/2018: Preview of Crostini, Introducing Heptio Gimbal, OPNsense 18.1.6

    Links for the day



  14. Patent Maximalists Step Things Up With Director Andrei Iancu and It's Time for Scientists to Fight Back

    Science and technology don't seem to matter as much as the whims of the patent (litigation) 'industry', at least judging by recent actions taken by Andrei Iancu (following a hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee)



  15. Mythology About Patents in the East

    Misconceptions (or deliberate propaganda) about patent policy in the east poison the debate and derail a serious, facts-based discussion about it



  16. Patent Trolls Watch: Red River Innovations, Bradium Technologies/General Patent, and Wordlogic

    A quick look at some patent trolls that made the news this Monday; we are still seeing a powerful response to such trolls, whose momentum is slipping owing to the good work of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB)



  17. Holding Benoît Battistelli Accountable After the EPO

    The many abuses and offenses committed by Mr. Battistelli whilst he enjoyed diplomatic immunity can and should be brought up as that immunity expires in two months; a good start would be contacting his colleagues, who might not be aware of the full spectrum of his abuses



  18. Links 23/4/2018: Second RC of Linux 4.17 and First RC of Mesa 18.1

    Links for the day



  19. The Good Work of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) and the Latest Attempts to Undermine It

    A week's roundup of news about PTAB, which is eliminating many bad (wrongly-granted) patents and is therefore becoming "enemy number one" to those who got accustomed to blackmailing real (productive) firms with their questionable patents



  20. District Courts' Patent Cases, Including the Eastern District of Texas (EDTX/TXED), in a Nutshell

    A roundup of patent cases in 'low courts' of the United States, where patents are being reasoned about or objected to while patent law firms make a lot of money



  21. The Federal Circuit's (CAFC) Decisions Are Being Twisted by Patent Propaganda Sites Which Merely Cherry-Pick Cases With Outcomes That Suit Them

    The Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) continues to reject the vast majority of software patents, citing Section 101 in many such cases, but the likes of Managing IP, Patently-O, IAM and Watchtroll only selectively cover such cases (instead they’re ‘pulling a Berkheimer’ or some similar name-dropping)



  22. Patents Roundup: Metaswitch, GENBAND, Susman, Cisco, Konami, High 5 Games, HTC, and Nintendo

    A look at existing legal actions, the application of 35 U.S.C. § 101, and questionable patents that are being pursued on software (algorithms or "software infrastructure")



  23. In Maxon v Funai the High 'Patent Court' (CAFC) Reaffirms Disdain for Software Patents, Which Are Nowadays Harder to Get and Then Defend

    With the wealth of decisions from the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) wherein software patents get discarded (Funai being the latest example), the public needs to ask itself whether patent law firms are honest when they make claims about resurgence of software patents by 'pulling a Berkheimer' or coming up with terms like “Berkheimer Effect”



  24. Today's European Patent Office Works for Patent Extremists and for Team UPC Rather Than for Europe or for Innovation

    The International Association for the Protection of Intellectual Property (AIPPI) and other patent maximalists who have nothing to do with Europe, helped by a malicious and rather clueless politician called Benoît Battistelli, are turning the EPO into a patent-printing machine rather than an examination office as envisioned by the EPC (founders) and member states



  25. The EPO is Dying and Those Who Have Killed It Are Becoming Very Rich in the Process

    Following the footsteps of Ron Hovsepian at Novell, Battistelli at the EPO (along with Team Battistelli) may mean the end of the EPO as we know it (or the end altogether); one manager and a cabal of confidants make themselves obscenely rich by basically sacrificing the very organisation they were entrusted to serve



  26. Short: Just Keep Repeating the Lie (“Quality”) Until People Might Believe It

    Battistelli’s patent-printing bureau (EPO without quality control) keeps lying about the quality of patents by repeating the word “quality” a lot of times, including no less than twice in the summary alone



  27. Shelston IP Keeps Pressuring IP Australia to Allow Software Patents and Harm Software Development

    Shelston IP wants exactly the opposite of what's good for Australia; it just wants what's good for itself, yet it habitually pretends to speak for a productive industry (nothing could be further from the truth)



  28. Is Andy Ramer's Departure the End of Cantor Fitzgerald's Patent Trolls-Feeding Operations and Ambitions?

    The managing director of the 'IP' group at Cantor Fitzgerald is leaving, but it does not yet mean that patent trolls will be starved/deprived access to patents



  29. EPO Hoards Billions of Euros (Taken From the Public), Decreases Quality to Get More Money, Reduces Payments to Staff

    The EPO continues to collect money from everyone, distributes bogus/dubious patents that usher patent trolls into Europe (to cost European businesses billions in the long run), and staff of the EPO faces more cuts while EPO management swims in cash and perks



  30. Short: Calling Battistelli's Town (Where He Works) “Force for Innovation” to Justify the Funneling of EPO Funds to It

    How the EPO‘s management ‘explained’ (or sought to rationalise) to staff its opaque decision to send a multi-million, one-day ceremony to Battistelli’s own theatre only weeks before he leaves


CoPilotCo

RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

CoPilotCo

Recent Posts