A collective of digital rights advocates have written a letter pressuring Skype to employ the same level of transparency policy companies such as Google and Twitter do.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and Digital Rights Foundation help to make up the 44 supporters of the plea. They want Skype to publicly report what it does and doesn’t record, use and pass on. The advocates have requested to know how many requests governments make and what the company complies with, what information Microsoft keeps 100% private, Skype’s analysis of 3rd party’s ability to tap into online conversations and its staff policies on disclosure requests.
As part of their duty to protect online safety Google and Twitter, two of the worlds most visited websites both publish transparent privacy reports. Skype has over 600 million users worldwide, including government officials, international business men and women as well as individuals who use the service for social use.
In July of last year Skype revealed that Skype to Skype calls do not pass through its datacentres meaning they have no access to any data transferred from user to user. In conversations involving either 3 or more devices or a Skype to phone conversation however do pass through Microsoft’s servers. Meaning there is scope for intrusion and also that call data is recorded by the company somewhere, the campaigners want to know what Microsoft does with this information. Text communications via Skype are saved for a total of 30 days, this is to ensure synchronisation between multiple devices.
Windows Messenger users are currently being migrated to the video call software. This will see a further increase in the number of individuals using Skype for either audio, video or text communications.