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[liberationtech] Skype Open Letter: CALL FOR SIGNATORIES

Rich Kulawiec rsk at gsp.org
Wed Jan 16 13:13:52 PST 2013


Suggested changes (all near the beginning):

Is:

Many of these users rely on secure communications - whether they
are activists operating under authoritarian governments or journalists
dealing with sensitive sources.

Suggest:

Many of these users rely on secure communications - whether they are
activists, journalists, doctors, lawyers, counselors -- or anyone.

Is:

Many trust Skype to be secure by default and others don't have access
to security advice.

Suggest:

Nearly all trust Skype to be secure by default; almost none have
access to security advice.

Is:

Due to Skype's lack of transparency and repeated policy violations,
these activists and journalists may be putting themselves in jeopardy.

Suggest:

Due to Skype's lack of transparency and repeated policy violations, these
people may be putting themselves, the people with whom they interact,
and the information they exchange in jeopardy.


Comment: I wanted to broaden the scope beyond activists and journalists,
in order to show that this affects a far larger number of people -- e.g.,
doctors discussing a case with colleagues via Skype *may* be violating
HIPAA as well as their own professional code of ethics as well as state
laws/regulations as well as their own institution's policies if that
conversation isn't known-confidential.  (I am not an attorney, this
is not legal advice, contents may settle during shipping.)

I also wanted to emphasize that hardly anyone has the ability to discern
for themselves whether the software/service is actually secure and to
what degree.  They are simply shifting the expectations that they have
for things called "phones" from land lines to cell phones to VOIP,
and in nearly all cases, they are doing so uncritically.

I'm not sure whether I'll sign this yet or not.  I support the idea
of transparency, don't get me wrong.  But I see no reason at all to
believe anything in any answer that comes back.  And if I ask myself
one of my favorite questions ("What would Machiavelli do?") (That's
a book, by the way, recommended reading) then in Skype/Microsoft's
place I would use my excellent staff of attorneys and PR people to
craft a beautiful but useless response, full of sound and fury --
signifying...nothing.

---rsk



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