Analysis and opinion by Christopher Soghoian, security and privacy researcher.
Thursday, July 26, 2012
Over the past few weeks, the technical blogosphere, and most recently, the mainstread media have tried to answer the question: What kind of assistance can Skype provide to law enforcement agencies? Most of the stories have been filled with speculation, sometimes informed, but mostly not. In an attempt to paint as clear a picture as possible, I want to explain what we do and don’t know about Skype and surveillance.
Skype has long provided assistance to governments The Washington Post reported yesterday that:
Skype, the online phone service long favored by political dissidents, criminals and others eager to communicate beyond the reach of governments, has expanded its cooperation with law enforcement authorities to make online chats and other user information available to police
The changes, which give the authorities access to addresses and credit card numbers, have drawn quiet applause in law enforcement circles but hostility from many activists and analysts.
To back up its claim, the post cites interviews with “industry and government officials familiar with the changes” who “poke on the condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to discuss the issue publicly.” Ugh.
However, a quick Google search for “Skype law enforcement handbook” quickly turns up an official looking document on the whistleblower website cryptome.org, dated October 2007, which makes it clear that Skype has long been providing the assistance that the Post claims is new.
Read more: here