03.22.13

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Microsoft Surveillance of Over 100,000 Skype Accounts?

Posted in Microsoft at 8:00 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Watching and listening to perceived ‘enemies’

Binoculars

Summary: Some new numbers reveal the degree to which Skype surveillance has increased since leaving Luxembourg; Europe finds privacy violations in Microsoft

Microsoft has tried to catch up with Google on some transparency and based on numbers from Microsoft, in 2012 Microsoft and Skype got a total of 75,378 law enforcement requests, potentially impacting 137,424 accounts. US laws mean that Microsoft needed to comply. Skype, originally a European product, is in US hands now, through Microsoft.

Microsoft offers no privacy and the Microsoft booster says that US law enforcement is the biggest recipient of Microsoft customer data. A few months back the EU investigated Microsoft for privacy violations. To quote: “Bloomberg reports that Microsoft’s recent service agreement update to its online services has caught the eye of data privacy watchdogs in the EU. The data protection commission, led by Luxembourg and France, sent a letter to Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer detailing the investigation.”

Luxembourg is where Microsoft took Skype from, reportedly putting back doors in the software after the acquisition.

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4 Comments

  1. Needs Sunlight said,

    March 22, 2013 at 1:48 pm

    Gravatar

    That was just one group and just one service. What other groups or agencies are dipping into the store of account data? What about other services besides M$ Skype?

    About Skype itself, it is notable that M$ took efforts to centralize Skype’s topology eliminating P2P supernodes. What effects this has on performance is for others to say, it does appear to impair thing for Europe and Asia, but it does make it much easier to monitor. Fortunately, SIP tools like Jitsi are growing in popularity. They already exceed Skype in functionality and eclipse it in security. All it takes is the not insignificant task of getting a critical mass. It is possible for users to run both SIP and Skype clients while making the transition.

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    I have been experimenting with SIP clients for Android. Some networks seem to be blocking such traffic.

    Needs Sunlight Reply:

    I’ve heard of such blocking. The ISPs often make a lot of money from traditional long distance calls so they are very unwilling to let VoIP get any gains.

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    I’ll explore it again this weekend. The question is, why are backdoored VoIP clients not blocked? Any means of concealing the nature of such traffic?

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