Skype Makes It Easier for Police to Monitor Your Chats

Critics worry about privacy, but company says it's being responsible
By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 26, 2012 4:35 AM CDT
Skype Changes Make Chats Easier to Monitor by Police
Changes to Skype's infrastructure has made it easier for law enforcement to monitor chats on the popular messaging service.   (©1000heads)

Skype's "eavesdropping-proof" online messaging and video chats have long been used by those who don't want the authorities knowing what they're up to. But that's beginning to change, as technical modifications to Skype's programming now allow chats to be monitored, a development welcomed by many law enforcement groups, reports the Washington Post. Audio and video conferencing on Skype is still out of reach, but experts say it's just a matter of time before they can be monitored, too.

Microsoft, which owns Skype, has "a long track record of working successfully with law enforcement here and internationally," said one expert. But activists warn that these same developments could be used to crack down on dissidents and others that governments target. “This is just making Skype like every other communication service—no better, no worse," said one industry official. "Skype used to be very special because it really was locked up. Now it’s like Superman without his powers." (More Skype stories.)

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