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Friday, July 27, 2012

Skype working with police to help them SPY on users

Skype is co-operating more closely with police to help them spy on users.

The online phone service, used by friends and families to keep in touch but also favoured by political dissidents and criminals, is making online chat and other user information available to police, according to The Washington Post.

Surveillance of the audio and video feeds remains impractical, even when courts issue warrants, industry officials told the newspaper.

But the changes, apparently in effect since late last year, allow police surveillance of online chats, Skype's instant messaging feature, as well as access to addresses and credit card numbers of users.

The Washington Post said U.S. officials have long pushed for greater access to online conversations to resolve what the FBI labels the 'going dark' problem.

They complain that Skype's encryption and other features made tracking drug lords, pedophiles and terrorists more difficult and police listening to traditional wiretaps have even heard suspects suggest 'let's talk on Skype' because it is more secure, The Post reports.

Law enforcement are thrilled by the changes to Skype, which was acquired by Microsoft, an organisation known for working closely with authorities, in May 2011 for $8.5 million, but activists are wary. Read More