Skype likely to provide means of VoIP interception – eavesdropping by “state trojans” disproportionate

The widely used voice-over-IP and video chat software Skype is likely to provide a way to monitor Skype-internal conversations. It seems that the answer to the lively debated question whether there is an alternative to the so-called “source-interception” (trojan-based eavesdropping) is “yes”, at least from a technical point of view. In order to avoid the infiltration of computer systems by monitoring software which infringes fundamental rights, enforcement agencies should enter into negotiations with Skype, now a Microsoft subsidiary, to strive for the practical implementation of less intrusive surveillance measures.

For years, rumors are circulating on the net that Skype software may include a monitoring interface for government agencies. These suspicions are underlined by the “small print” of the Skype Privacy Policy, which states (Section 3):

Skype, Skype’s local partner, or the operator or company facilitating your communication may provide personal data, communications content and/or traffic data to an appropriate judicial, law enforcement or government authority lawfully requesting such information. Skype will provide all reasonable assistance and information to fulfil this request and you hereby consent to such disclosure.

However a definitive proof for such a function has thus far not become known publicly.

Nevertheless, the system may already provide a technically simple way of listening to voice calls within the Skype network even without breaking the proprietary encryption of the audio data stream. The network operator, Skype, should be able to do this simply by secretly combining the “Skype In” and “Skype Out” features.

The “Skype In” and “Skype Out” call routing options are used to make calls from within the Skype network to the “normal” telephone network. For Skype-Out, the Skype user connects to an extension designated by a classic telephone number ...

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