Are Your Conversations Safe on Skype?
Skype users: are you concerned about how confidential your conversations are? If so, you’re not the only one, as around 50 organizations have signed a letter to Skype, requesting it to be more open about its data protection and retention policies, as well as the confidentiality of the conversations.
The latest to sign is The New America Foundation’s Open Technology Institute (OTI), adding its name to a list containing companies such as the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Reporters Without Borders, and Expression Online Coalition.
According to the letter to Skype, many of its users are activists in authoritarian governments, journalists with sensitive information, or just regular people looking to have private conversations. None of them know exactly how confidential their Skype conversations are, and what sort of access governments and third parties have to them.
As such, the letter requests Skype to release a Transparency Report, including specific details of all the user data it collects and its retention policy, and its understanding of what user data could be intercepted by third parties. It also requests data as to what Skype user information gets released to third parties, including government requests, and how many it complies to.
Skype is one of the most popular video and text chat programs, so with all those who use it, it’s vital that the data from the calls be kept secure. Private conversations should not be sold to governments or advertisers, and it should be clear what information is safe, and how private the conversations are. Security is vital, and there is more at risk than just amusing conversations and typos. Skype needs to do the right thing.
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Edited by Brooke Neuman