Can Police Wiretap Skype Calls?

Wiretap Skype Security

Talks circulating the internet says that Skype’s recent infrastructure upgrade made it possible for the company to simply hand over its users’ conversation logs. Skype made a statement on their blog saying that the upgrade was meant to improve overall experience and reliability of using Skype.

The catch? They would relay data to the law enforcement if the need calls for it.

Why Wiretap Skype?

Microsoft Skype Ballmer

In 2009, Microsoft filed for Legal Intercept. It is a US patent intended for copying the conversation between two people over VOIP services like Skype. Now in 2012, the patent resurfaced along with the change in Microsoft’s supernode policy.

With the all-new supernode policy, Skype now houses its own servers that allows the system to locate where the call was made. With those changes, government officials assumed that the improvement was made to make information available to the police.

The Real Score

Voice and Video Calls

Skype says that all those rumors are not applicable in voice and video call. It’s true that their new server can help locate the caller and improve data quality, but the actual conversation would simply pass through the system unnoticed.

Instant Messages

We may be clear on calls, but Skype’s Chief Development and Operations Officer, Mark Gillett, shared that they will allow police access to Skype IM conversations if the necessary procedures were done. Contrasting to Skype’s calling feature, IM messages are temporarily stored on Microsoft server. The period is until 30 days, unless required by law.

Is There a Cause for Concern?

To simply put it, the police cannot wiretap your Skype calls. However, they can work hand in hand with Microsoft if they feel that they can dig evidence in Skype IM conversations.

Is it something to worry about? Not if you’re doing anything wrong. Skype’s upgrade is not meant to undermine user privacy, but it was done to improve over all user experience. You can also think of it this way- it’s one way of helping in making the world a better place to live in by working with the police.

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