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[liberationtech] Google Hangout the new, better skype? Was Re: Skype redux

Jacob Appelbaum jacob at
Fri Dec 21 17:15:49 PST 2012

Brian Conley:
> So I guess the question is, is there a more/similarly convenient
> video/audio chatting tool that can be advocated as a standard?


> Skype is a problem, hands down. But people will continue to use it,
> particularly in situations they see as nonthreatening (rightly and wrongly)
> because it is convenient and maintains weight in the marketplace.

People will continue to use it as long as this community and others
accepts it as a reasonable tool. It isn't a reasonable tool and we
should warn people not to use it. We should rather encourage them to use
open and standard protocol, as well as to use FLOSS implementations.

> This is a long way of asking, is Goohke Hangout functionally better? Is
> anything else? Or, how do we get someone to develop a convenient p2p
> chatting tool that is also pleasurable to use?

Jitsi is likely better for a lot of stuff. It is written in Java (yay no
programmer introduced buffer overflows, boo java, boo java), it has OTR
for chatting and ZRTP for VoIP calls. It does this with standard
jabber/xmpp accounts. Users can download it over HTTPS and I believe the
cert may be pinned now in Google Chrome. It isn't perfect but if I had
to choose between it and Skype, I guess I'd not have a lot of trouble
making the choice of using Jitsi.

All the best,

> B 
> On Dec 21, 2012 6:07 AM, "Jacob Appelbaum" <jacob at> wrote:
>> Hi,
>> In light of the recent thread on journalism, I wanted to share this link
>> about Skype:
>> "With 250 million monthly connected users, Skype is one of the most
>> popular services for making phone calls as well as chatting over the
>> Internet. If you have friends, family or business contacts abroad,
>> chances are you are using Skype to keep in contact. Having said that,
>> you are probably not aware that all your phone calls and text chats can
>> be monitored by the censorship authorities in China. And if you are
>> aware, chances are that you do not consent to such surveillence.
>> Microsoft, however, assumes that you do consent, as expressed in their
>> Privacy Policy:
>> "Skype, Skype's local partner, or the operator or company facilitating
>> your communication may provide personal data, communications content
>> and/or traffic data to an appropriate judicial, law enforcement or
>> government authority lawfully requesting such information. Skype will
>> provide reasonable assistance and information to fulfill this request
>> and you hereby consent to such disclosure.
>> All the best,
>> Jacob
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