Open letter to Microsoft wants more transparency on Skype tracking

Microsoft officially acquired Skype in 2011 and since then, the VoIP service has continued to grow in popularity. However, there have been concerns in the past about how Microsoft and Skype collect information that is transmitted on the service, along with what happens with that information once it is collected. In November, it was revealed that Skype gave a 16-year old’s information to an IT security company, even though it had no need to do so.

Today, a number of organizations and individuals, led by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, posted an open letter to Microsoft and Skype. The letter requests that Microsoft release documents on how Skype collects its user information and what data has been sent to third parties; other organizations that have signed the letter include Reporters Without Borders, and the New America Foundation’s Open Technology Institute.

The letter states:

Other companies, such as Google, Twitter and Sonic.net already release transparency reports detailing requests for user data by third parties twice a year. We believe that this data is vital to help us help Skype’s most vulnerable users, who rely on your software for the privacy of their communications and, in some cases, their lives.

So far Microsoft has yet to respond to the open letter.

Source: Open Letter to Skype | Image via Microsoft

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16 Comments

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SPEhosting said,
people can have as much usage data as they want ... as long as there is no way to identify me (general common courtesy ) I dont give a rats

I'm the opposite. I don't care who knows who I am online or offline. I even use my real full name on websites and forums. I have nothing to hide. I just don't want MS selling my phone number or email to spam companies, other then that I don't care if they inventory my HD, there's nothing on it but pics and source code for my homework.

well all my source code is very important and private as for general stuff its just private I have nothing I want to hide if I did I wouldnt make it digital... but its still just respect IMO but I see your point its annoying getting spammed to hell

Microsoft is usually transparent with these things, so I'm not sure what the issue is? Isn't this already available in the Privacy Policy and Terms of Use?

j2006 said,
Microsoft is usually transparent with these things, so I'm not sure what the issue is? Isn't this already available in the Privacy Policy and Terms of Use?

Did you know that everyone on your online list in Skype has access to your IP address? Unless you have some Firewall software or changed some registry settings that prevents this, it's default. Nowhere have I ever heard Microsoft acknowledging that.

Pluto is a Planet said,

Did you know that everyone on your online list in Skype has access to your IP address? Unless you have some Firewall software or changed some registry settings that prevents this, it's default. Nowhere have I ever heard Microsoft acknowledging that.

This would be why you don't add people you do not know to your 'trusted' friends lists.

EVERY peer based messaging technology exposes all end user IP addresses, as the software uses the IP to contact the other client software. Make sense right?

Microsoft is in the process of MOVING Skype to be a server side technology; however, compatibility will have to be retained for some time for older clients.

Any direct interaction with another individual exposes your IP. You do realize that just by posting on Neowin, you are giving them your IP address as well?

Just like you are giving EVERY website you visit your IP address?

Even server side messaging solutions when doing voice or chat hand off the local IPs of the individuals, thus exposing your IP address to anyone you voice or video chat with. (They can also HEAR YOU and SEE YOU.)

So if you are concerned about your IP address, stop using the web.

Wow.

I don't think you understand. Skype has had the technology built in to connect to the server only, and the server would then act as the middle man to connect two different people's text, voice, and video messaging. The thing is, this isn't even listed as an option anywhere. You'd have to use a firewall to block Skype from making any TCP connections in order for it to automatically change this setting to connect to its servers via UDP. And Skype would still work fine in video and voice chatting, without giving your IP address away.

Obviously, visiting a website gives them your IP address, just like using Skype would give them my IP address. Posting a comment here doesn't make my IP address readily available to you though. That's the difference; just because you want to opt into a service, does that mean that anyone else using that service should have access to personally identifiable information?

Point is as long as you've told anyone your Skype name or it's publicly posted somewhere, they can just send you a friend request or a message, and immediately see the new connections that's been made with exact IP addresses, just by using software by default in Windows Vista+. The article is about Microsoft's transparency on Skype; my point is Microsoft isn't transparent about this at all and a huge number of people use Skype to contact people they've simply met online.

Glassed Silver said,
Damn, that dude in the pic needs a shaver and a barber ASAP.

GS:mac


Microsoft is in the Pacific Northwest. Up here, scruffy and unkempt is business casual.

Making fun of a man's grooming is met with a worse response than punching a puppy.

Australia isn't much better.

Joshie said,

Microsoft is in the Pacific Northwest. Up here, scruffy and unkempt is business casual.

Making fun of a man's grooming is met with a worse response than punching a puppy.

Australia isn't much better.

Whatever, looks darn fugly.

He can try to find me and beat me here in Germany... Not sure it'll be worth his time and money to fly across the pond.

GS:mac

Auzeras said,
Hair I don't mind, but that half assed mo is just grungly. Feral!

Indeed, the hair itself is actually pretty okay.
It's very very casual, but okay... It only starts looking really bad when combined with that skid mark that attempt at a beard is.

GS:mac

Glassed Silver said,

Indeed, the hair itself is actually pretty okay.
It's very very casual, but okay... It only starts looking really bad when combined with that skid mark that attempt at a beard is.

GS:mac


Most attempts at facial hair are pretty horrifying. It's usually worn by guys who think they need it to look and feel mature, which is ironic since they almost never hold their personality to the same standard.

Joshie said,

Most attempts at facial hair are pretty horrifying. It's usually worn by guys who think they need it to look and feel mature, which is ironic since they almost never hold their personality to the same standard.

sounds like someone either cant grow a beard or gets beat up by facial hair people. I have facial hair and my personality is very mature. Just not on neowin. The amount of trolls here causes me to lash out lol

Colin McGregor said,

sounds like someone either cant grow a beard or gets beat up by facial hair people. I have facial hair and my personality is very mature. Just not on neowin. The amount of trolls here causes me to lash out lol


If you decide when and when not to be mature, you aren't actually mature. You're just playing faces.

I grow facial hair just fine, but can't stand it on my men, so go cry to your diary if it bothers you that I don't find you attractive.

I understand full well how the culture works. It's a bunch of lazy 18 year olds fresh out from under mom and dad's roof for college or whatever barely employed lifestyle they've chosen instead who, when suddenly confronted with the cost of grooming, decide they can save money by ignoring their neckmold instead.

Or these are the guys who, in 7th grade, looked in the mirror one morning to discover The Fuzz and figured this is what it means to be a man, kept growing it, and never bothered with growing up in any other aspect of their life whatsoever.

/ironically it's the LAZIEST sort of manliness, since guys don't have to put *any* effort into facial hair at all. Believing that a beard makes you manly just goes to show how childish a person really is.

Edited by Joshie, Jan 27 2013, 8:57pm :