No, Microsoft is not recording your Skype converstations with Mom

Subject: General Tech | July 30, 2012 - 10:07 AM |
Tagged: fud, skype, microsoft, office 2013

It is highly unlikely that the reason many of Skype's Supernodes have been moved to the inside of Microsoft data centres is to allow them to record your Skype conversations.  Consider instead the numerous guides on the net to disable the ability of Skype to co-opt your PC into being a temporary supernode.  With many users opting out of that necessary piece of Skype's infrastructure it could possibly cause quality of service issues with Skype.  As Microsoft is planning on bundling Skype in with the new version of Office, it makes sense that they want at least some supernodes of which they can guarantee a certainly level of QoS to their paying customers.  As The Register points out, they need to find some way to recoup the expense of purchasing the company.

The patent that Microsoft holds to allow for the silent recording of transmissions between two computers, like VoIP, is of some concern but perhaps not as much as some other coverage would have you believe.  The patent application was filed almost 2 years before the purchase of Skype; while it could certainly be used on Skype connections it seems unlikely that it was designed specifically with Skype in mind.  Perhaps a more logical application of this patent would be to offer a way for business users to record conference calls natively and not need to rely on third party software to enable them to do so.  Skype has offered up unencrypted recordings to law enforcement agencies in the past but only did so in special circumstances.  It is likely to continue to do so for as long as the laws of the land consider that process to be legal but the likelihood of general recording of all Skype conversations is almost nil.

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"Skype has issued a formal denial to reports that it has been allowing law enforcement to listen in on users' calls following a change in its system architecture.

"Some media stories recently have suggested Skype may be acting improperly or based on ulterior motives against our users' interests. Nothing could be more contrary to the Skype philosophy," said Mark Gillett, Skype's chief development and operations officer in a blog post."

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Source: The Register
July 30, 2012 | 11:22 AM - Posted by dusanmal (not verified)

Police standard practice: means, motive, and opportunity. Means - owning Skype; motive - monetary (direct monetary compensation) and influence (cooperating with Government as public-private partnership providing MS with good standing and ability for political/legal payback when they need it); opportunity - moving some nodes to MS ownership and having access and (legal) ability to modify source code we the users can't see and double check.

Completely fair suspicion and (knowing other companies like AT&T give direct access to data for money to the Government) likely reality.

July 30, 2012 | 01:11 PM - Posted by Jeremy Hellstrom

I'm not sure how step 2 works ... how could you cost effectively trawl through millions of phone conversations in a way which would net you enough monetary return to justify it.  Seems like a lot of effort to create slightly more targeted ads during voice calls.  Speech recognition is much harder than monitoring emails for keywords.   Step 3 is kind of unnecessary, since Microsoft could probably bankrupt the justice department if they wanted to drag a case out long enough and besides, it is a captive market already, governments are unlikely to jump to desktop Linux.

I can't argue that the bizarre telecom rules in the US don't exist though, they are still valid and make what you suggest completely legal ... in the US.

July 30, 2012 | 02:29 PM - Posted by Mark (not verified)

The thing is if the govt. wants anything they call your company and ask to speak with yer investigations dept., they work together to complete the request. We do it at work all the time, if they want u, they ALREADY got u.

The thing is now the govt. has the Microsoft investigations dept. on speed dial and have for years. They'll just add Skype to their brochure offering their services to the govt., like all big corps.

Seriously tho if yer doing something that would ever involve somebody "listening to u" in terms of anything legal...yer already toast....seriously. They've already assigned you to somebody whom sole purpose 5 days/40+ hours a week is to bring u down.

Skype is now blacklisted in the mind share of a lot of people now. Damage done.

July 31, 2012 | 03:11 AM - Posted by Arb1 (not verified)

Well if anyone really thought about it, this was something that was possible from the start anyway. Given a court order MS would have to provide recorded calls as law requires. Fact this only now this is coming to light show's how slow people can be at times. Anyone that is made at this well they can monitor about every other form of communication so why would Skype be any different. I put money even Apple's Facetime can be recorded to. Anyone that has idea they can't well they are just delusional.

July 31, 2012 | 08:20 PM - Posted by cyow

lol why would you want to really I hate to sit for hours listing to me talk

August 16, 2012 | 07:55 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

I'm using MX Skype Recorder and you may also want to try it
http://skyperec.com
as it shows itself as a stable and reliable app what is crucial for important business conversations.
I recommend!

December 18, 2012 | 05:11 PM - Posted by Dolly Swanteck (not verified)

I dugg some of you post as I cerebrated they were invaluable very useful

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