Skype admits privacy breach in China

By on October 2, 2008, 5:50 PM
It's no secret that businesses who want to enter the Internet market in China have to sometimes do some unsavory things to comply with government regulations. Thus, it doesn’t really come as much of a surprise to learn that a surveillance system is being used to monitor and block Skype conversations. What’s more troubling, though, is that the company claims the practice was changed for a more aggressive one without their knowledge or consent.

Instead of just blocking certain text messages with sensitive words from reaching their destination, it appears that a joint venture between Skype and Chinese wireless carrier Tom Online was allowing authorities to monitor these conversations and store them on a web server. The logs include a treasure-trove of personal information, such as e-mail addresses, passwords, phone numbers, package tracking numbers and bank card numbers.

What’s worst, many of the captured messages contain words that are too common, suggesting that there may be other more specific criteria to determine whether a conversation should be captured by the system. Skype officials said to be “extremely concerned” over this situation and promised a fix soon.

User Comments: 2

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Auldsod said:
What a betrayal of trust! Skype has no excuse for this breach of privacy. They KNEW about their pact with the Chinese Government and it was clearly their duty to inform Skype users of this. Possibly, arrests will follow? - Auldsod
craterbaiter said:
Skype promotes the text and voice service as encrypted end to that credible ? Pickens writes:Researchers say their discovery contradicts a public statement made by Skype executives in 2006 that 'full end-to-end security is preserved and there is no compromise of people's privacy.' The Chinese government is not alone in its Internet surveillance efforts. In 2005, The New York Times reported that the National Security Agency was monitoring large volumes of telephone and Internet communications flowing into and out of the United States as part of an eavesdropping program that President Bush approved after the Sept. 11 attacks. 'This is the worst nightmares of the conspiracy theorists around surveillance coming true,' says Ronald J. Deibert, an associate professor of political science at the University of Toronto. 'It's "X-Files" without the aliens.'" [ Slashdot Posted by CmdrTaco on Thursday October 02, @12:09PM] UK, and partners: AUSCANZUKUS, has 'Echelon' running like a raped ape 24/7 recording ALL the communications from anyone to anywhere on anything.Onyx is a Swiss intelligence gathering system maintained by the Swiss Army to monitor both civil and military communications, such as telephone, fax or Internet traffic, carried by satellite. Onyx uses lists of keywords to filter the intercepted content for information of interest, and monitoring communications between a person in Switzerland and someone in another country is allowed.Frenchalon: The system allegedly operated by DGSE, whose Direction Technique (Technical Direction) is responsible for signal intelligence, of anyone on anything from to France or in Europe and 'French territories' and places of influence [ which to the French means: the world. ]It cannot be a surprise that China might be curious about Internet chatter, more curious is how stupid the users are to assume that Skype is a secure service. PS Skype is owned by Ebay.. itself a huge resource for internal revenue departments worldwide, and not incidentally watched by every sensible police force in the world for stolen goods trafficking, money laundering , fraud etc . Lol If you want security, encryption, anonymity .. pay for it. Then one has to wonder which state security services would be dull enough not to have infiltrated every secure server and software system in the last twenty years, when hackers do so ad hoc on a daily basis without resources. Only silence is secure, and free.BSBD
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