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Sunday, July 14, 2013

How the World Was Misled About Government Skype Eavesdropping

Read the whole thing at Slate: Since it was purchased by Microsoft in 2011, Skype has been extremely evasive on the issue of government surveillance. Now, a string of leaked secret details from the National Security Agency reveal why.
The Guardian also cites documents showing that work began on integrating Skype into the NSA’s Internet surveillance program PRISM in November 2010, several months before Microsoft purchased the service from U.S. private equity firms. By February 2011, the NSA was able to monitor Skype audio calls. In addition, by July last year, the NSA reportedly boasted that a new capability had tripled the amount of Skype video calls being collected through PRISM.

These details compound recent revelations about Skype’s cooperation with the U.S. government. Last month, the Post reported that the NSA has a “User’s Guide for PRISM Skype Collection” that outlines how it can eavesdrop on Skype “when one end of the call is a conventional telephone and for any combination of 'audio, video, chat, and file transfers' when Skype users connect by computer alone.” About two weeks later, the New York Times reported that, five years ago, before Microsoft acquired Skype, Skype initiated an internal program called “Project Chess” to explore how it could make Skype calls readily available to the government.

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