Skype wants to make your calls “readily available” to the government, according to report


The New York Times is reporting that in 2008, Skype launched a top secret program called “Project Chess.” It’s goal? To make Skype users’ calls “more readily available to intelligence agencies and law enforcement officials.”

Just to emphasize how confidential this project was (or was supposed to be anyway), only around a dozen people at the company reportedly knew about it. According to the NYT, Skype sometimes had “contentious talks with the government over legal issues” as they were developing Project Chess.

But it doesn’t end there. Several years ago, Skype made statements saying that calls on their service could not be wiretapped. However, the report adds that “Microsoft executives are no longer willing to affirm statements” regarding Skype’s previous claims. The company is of course now owned by Microsoft, which acquired the company in a massive $8.5 billion deal in 2011.

So far it is hard to confirm what has happened of Project Chess; if it has been implemented in Skype yet or not and if governments around the world can eavesdrop on Skype calls and chats or not. However, seeing as Microsoft refuses to stand by Skype’s statement of nonwiretappable calls… you can draw your own conclusion.

And the plot thickens.

[via NYTBGR]

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  • Louis

    So unfortunate I have to rely on Skype, seeing as I’m working in Mainland China.

    A&L, interesting mention about Jitsi — looks to be French/Bulgarian in origin ? Anything other than coming from a US co now suddenly is starting to look attractive ! This is saying a lot, for Skype had been a part of my everyday life mor a decade now !!

    Fortunately, I HAD been using a VPN from an Aussie company, over which I make my Skype calls, normally choosing a server on the US West Coast, it being closest to China — good luck to them trying to pin my calls on me.

    @#$% you again, US Government (insert own four letter word), I’m really getting sick about hearing about the way you trample over my privacy.

    You have now in fact, towards me from my perspective, became a cyber-terrorist yourself. You are no different than any hacker/cracker accessing my information illegally.

    Does the US Gov not realise the damage it’s doing to its own reputation ? Or is this a clear demonstration of what happens when voting in an Administration that knows it cannot stand for re-election again, and thus can now fulfil its own hidden agenda without caring about its consequences ?

    Because “IT CAN ! YES, WE CAN !!”

    However, guess what, the rest of the world can just stop using the services of your companies. Because WE CAN ! YES, WE CAN !!

  • MeMATE

    Don’t trust that bloody Skype, may try this new Jitsi

  • A&L

    I won’t be putting skype back on my machine, didn’t use it that much anyways.
    If i find the need i’ll be trying