Groups raise questions about privacy on Skype

Advocacy groups call on Skype and owner Microsoft to detail access by third parties such as governments

Skype owner Microsoft should release information about how much user data it gives to third parties, including government agencies, several organisations and individuals said in a letter to company officials.

The groups, including the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Reporters Without Borders and GreatFire.org, called on Microsoft and Skype to also release information about whether third parties can intercept Skype calls and to explain their position on complying with wiretap laws in the US. Forty-five groups and more than 60 people signed the letter to Microsoft officials.

With about 600 million users, Skype is effectively one of the largest telecommunications providers worldwide, the letter noted.

"Many of its users rely on Skype for secure communications - whether they are activists operating in countries governed by authoritarian regimes, journalists communicating with sensitive sources, or users who wish to talk privately in confidence with business associates, family, or friends," the letter said.

Skype is reviewing the letter, a spokesman said.

Skype users "work in the face of persistently unclear and confusing statements about the confidentiality of Skype conversations," including access by government agencies, the letter said.

The letter called on Microsoft and Skype to disclose what user information they collect and to disclose Skype's relationship with Chinese mobile provider TOM Online and other third-party licensees of Skype technology.

Other online companies, including Google and Twitter, release regular reports detailing request for user data by third parties, the letter noted.

Grant Gross covers technology and telecom policy in the U.S. government for The IDG News Service. Follow Grant on Twitter at GrantGross. Grant's e-mail address is grant_gross@idg.com.

More about: Borders, Electronic Frontier Foundation, Google, IDG, Microsoft, Skype
Comments are now closed.
Related Coverage
Related Whitepapers
Latest Stories
Community Comments
Tags: Internet-based applications and services, telecommunication, GreatFire.org, internet, Electronic Frontier Foundation, privacy, video, Google, Reporters Without Borders, skype, security, voip, Microsoft, twitter
ARN Directory | Distributors relevant to this article
Aquion , Bluechip Infotech , Com1 International , Dicker Data , Express Data , ICT Distribution , Impact Systems Technology , Ingram Micro Australia , Leader Computers , Multimedia Technology , NewLease , Synnex Australia , Topstar Computer International , Wholesale IT , XiT Distribution
Get exclusive access to ARN's news, research and invitation only events.
ARN Distributor Directory
ARN Vendor Directory
Microsites

iAsset is a channel management ecosystem that automates all major aspects of the entire sales,marketing and service process, including data tracking, integrated learning, knowledge management and product lifecycle management.

 

Latest News

03:39PM
Cloud an alternative to growing IT complexity: Schneider Electric
02:49PM
Telstra partners New Zealand firm Mako Networks
02:33PM
Fujitsu and Panasonic join forces in new semi-conductor business
12:12PM
HP unveils its flash-driven XP7 storage
More News
05 May
CeBIT Australia 2014
06 May
Oracle Day 2014 - Across 2 Cities
06 May
Oracle Day 2014 - Across 2 Cities
06 May
IM Experience
View all events