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[liberationtech] Debate brewing on @Liberationtech Twitter

katmagic the.magical.kat at
Fri Mar 4 13:56:58 PST 2011

On Fri, 4 Mar 2011 11:59:32 -0800
Yosem Companys <companys at> wrote:

> Is Skype not safe for activists?  Perhaps folks can chime in here, and we
> can post 140 character summaries over there.  Seems an important topic to
> discuss further, especially since some of the people asking on Twitter are
> activists.
> YC

The short answer is no. The long answer is that it depends on who you want to
be safe from. If you trust Skype Limited, Skype seems relatively secure against
casual adversaries. Obviously, if your adversary has jurisdiction over Skype
Limited, or can persuade someone who has such jurisdiction, then Skype is
insecure. In addition, there is a speculation that Skype has a backdoor, which
could allow Skype Limited to not only listen to your conversations,
impersonate any user, and see your location at all times, things it would be
able to do even if a backdoor did not exist, but to completely control your

Even if you do trust Skype Limited, and all entities with which it cooperates
(which includes the People's Republic of China), the protocol itself may not be
secure. This is difficult to ascertain, as it is proprietary. It should be
noted that most encryption implementations are subtly wrong, and that Skype has
had security problems in the past.

Friends don't let friends use Skype!
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