Is Microsoft Spying On You Via Skype Or Not?

    July 23, 2012

Back in May, we brought you news that Microsoft had moved Skype from P2P to its own dedicated Linux-based servers. At the time, it was funny because Microsoft was using Linux servers instead of Windows Servers to host Skype, but things have become a little more worrisome since then.

Slate is reporting that many feel the change to dedicated servers is to that Microsoft can spy on your Skype conversations. It was previously impossible due to the strong encryption and P2P networking that powered the service. The move to dedicated servers would definitely make it infinitely easier for law enforcement to wiretap Skype calls. Why would Microsoft do such a thing though?

The FBI has been pressuring Skype and other online communication services to put their support behind an amendment to the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act. The amendment would force these providers into assisting the FBI in surveillance over digital communication. Now that Skype is owned by Microsoft, it’s even more plausible that the company moved to dedicated servers to facilitate the needs of the FBI.

Slate did a little digging and found some rather strange coincidences. Only a month after Microsoft bought Skype, the company was granted a patent for “legal intercept” technology that would allow them to capture and record conversations made over Skype’s VOIP technology. Skype also changed its privacy policy allowing them to hand over “personal data, communications content and/or traffic data to an appropriate judicial, law enforcement or government authority.”

Those could all be a coincidences or Skype really is ok with selling you out to the authorities. What makes this even stranger is that Slate contacted Skype for comment numerous times before being told that the company “cooperates with law enforcement agencies as much as is legally and technically possible.”

Now, don’t go uninstalling Skype and putting on your tinfoil hat. Once again, this could all just be a coincidence. Even if it wasn’t, Microsoft is probably just readying Skype to comply with the law. Besides, the FBI could just ask the NSA for all the details of what you had for breakfast and how much you love your dog.