back to article Skype admits Chinese privacy breach

VoIP outfit Skype has admitted that surveillance was carried out on instant messages sent using the service in China, blaming local partner TOM Online for the eavesdropping. The eBay subsidiary said that it only discovered this week that a text-filter used to block conversations containing sensitive keywords had been altered …


This topic is closed for new posts.
  1. Joe
    Thumb Up

    Business as usual

    Kudos to all who have helped expose this!

    Capitalism has no ethics: Skype would be doing the same in East Germany if it still existed, and they'd be doing the same in the UK if Hitler had won the war.

    Also that link to the Skype blog is interesting. No reply to the comments, but at least they've let the comments stay.

  2. Anonymous Coward


    A filter designed to look for keywords was changed to intercept entire messages for surveillance purposes.

    But that could never happen with Phorm of course.

  3. Anonymous Coward

    Never rely on a provider's encryption

    If you want to communicate securely, and always do the encryption yourself on your end, and have the recipient do the decryption themselves on their end. Never rely on the carrier - you'll never be able to verify their handling.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    we can expect similar but shadier things already occur in Germany (they've illudid to this before) and I would be shocked if the states and UK weren't trying to get in on the game too.

  5. Tom Chiverton

    it is end-to-end encrypted, and ?

    According to TFA, the client is sending an (extra) message to the logging server, so the conversation can still be end-to-end secure.

    Trouble is, not even an open sourced alternative would help, if the provider of that binary has meddled with it, as appears to be the case here (Skype asked Tom to add filtering, Tom added logging while they were there).

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    This is what worries me about Phorm

    Who's to stop their system being altered without BT's knowledge (or more likely with BT fully complicit) to start logging all web use?

    Not that I'm paranoid or owt.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    End-to-end encryption....

    ....but with 3 ends.

    I always assumed the NSA could listen in on Skype.

    There's no better way to to tap communications than to quietly seed the development of what will be popular VOIP software and tell everyone it's "end to end encrypted".

    Black budgets, people.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    another thought - media seem to get handed China stories a bit like you use a piece of string to distract a cat.

    "Hey, maybe I'll investigate government data silo plans and US Border controls"

    "Hey reporter, yeah over here, check out this story about China"

    "Bollocks to the data silo and no one can afford to travel anyway" reporter suckles at the teet of Chinese shocking behaviour. Hurumphs are delivered, pats on backs transmitted, everyone feels good again.

    It is funny how these little distractions always turn up. It's like "hey guys don't pay attention to that giant arse f----ing machine you're sat on, instead pay attention to the guys over there with the funny hat and slitty eyes!"

  9. Jeff Deacon

    Re: This is what worries me about Phorm

    And that dear AC is precisely why the UK Government were 6 weeks late replying to the EU enquiries, and why they assure all comers that Phorm is entirely legal and that the users should be pleased to have the opportunity to be "protected" by it.

    Nothing to hide, nothing to fear. Move along please, nothing see.

  10. Moss Icely Spaceport

    Trouble with Chinese filtering software... hour after consuming a few hundred Skype logs, you are hungry again for more.

  11. Spoonguard
    Black Helicopters

    TOM closed the security hole?


    Skype "urgently addressed" the situation with TOM, which closed the security hole. Skype president Josh Silverman said: "We are currently addressing the wider issue of the uploading and storage of certain messages with TOM."


    "We are sorry we have been eavesdropping so ineptly. We promise to eavesdrop more competently in the future"

This topic is closed for new posts.

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2020