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[liberationtech] Debate brewing on @Liberationtech Twitter

Rebecca MacKinnon rebecca.mackinnon at
Sat Mar 5 05:51:11 PST 2011

If you're in China and use the joint-venture version distributed by the Hong
Kong-based company, Tom, the chat function is definitely not secure:

I know a number of people whose Skype account was compromised because their
computer was compromised. Or their Skype password was the same as a password
they use for social networking services, which got phished. I've heard of
people being contacted via Skype chat from known accounts of known
dissidents, engaging in a highly sensitive conversation, only to discover
later that the person they were chatting with wasn't actually the person
they assumed. I'm aware of at least one case in which people who were using
Skype voice - assuming they were secure - got arrested because the room from
which one of them was talking was bugged, the old-fashioned way. All of
these problems relate to the broader insecure context in which Skype is
often used, rather than the security or insecurity of Skype itself. But the
broader security context in which a "secure" tool is used is often
overlooked, with highly unfortunate consequences.


On Fri, Mar 4, 2011 at 2:59 PM, 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
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Rebecca MacKinnon
Schwartz Senior Fellow, New America Foundation
Cell: +1-617-939-3493
E-mail: rebecca.mackinnon at
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