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[liberationtech] Skype redux

Jacob Appelbaum jacob at
Sat Dec 22 01:58:22 PST 2012

Christopher Soghoian:
> Jake,
> The section of Skype's privacy policy that describes (with no real detail)
> the assistance they provide to law enforcement agencies is exactly the same
> text that was present before Microsoft bought the company.

What was it before it was sold to Ebay or whatever companies owned it
before Ebay?

> (See, for example:
> )
> I am just as skeptical of Skype's security as anyone else on this list.
> This lack of trust pre-dates the purchase by Microsoft.

Oh, yes, I agree entirely. There was however a *huge* change in the
protocol and/or the network when they purchased it:

> I've tried, and failed over the years to get any data at all about Skype
> and law enforcement surveillance from the company.

Have you found anything regarding how they take requests for data? For
example - a fax template? :)

> I have better relationship with Microsoft, who are surprisingly open with
> me when discussing privacy and surveillance issues relating to
> hotmail/live/outlook and Bing. Unfortunately, I've not been able to learn
> anything from my existing contacts at Microsoft about Skype. That part of
> the company seems to be continuing their long practice of secrecy regarding
> surveillance issues.

Perhaps it would be worth an open letter?

All the best,

> Regards,
> Chris
> On Fri, Dec 21, 2012 at 2:49 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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