Bye Bye, Skype

An Eccentric Anomaly: Ed Davies's Blog

I've cleared out my Skype account and will not be using it further. There doesn't seem to be an obvious way to delete the account otherwise I'd have done that, too. Here's why…

When Skype first came out it was really quite a neat thing - in particular it did very well at getting around NAT routing which was (and is) quite a good trick. And it put text, speech and, later, video together quite tidily which was also nice.

However, there was always a bit of a nagging doubt about its security. It was claimed to be secure but the code and even the methods used were proprietary and not subject to external review which is a bit of a red flag to anybody with even a passing interest in modern cryptography.

Then it was bought out by Microsoft which made the concerns a bit worse and gave reasonable cause to worry about other interventions.

Then along came articles like: Skype with care – Microsoft is reading everything you write which, while not completely damning, definitely felt more than a bit creepy.

Finally, we have the Miranda laptop theft (see the last two paragraphs) which gives a pretty clear indication that the NSA or one of the other three-letter agencies can and does listen to Skype calls. Presumably they're reasonably well targeted but even so imagine the outrage that'd be displayed if one of the Russian TLAs had similarly been tapping Skype, with Microsoft's assistance, and then carried out a burglary in the US or UK to steal the laptop of a Russian dissident journalist's partner after that journalist had interviewed a defector.

I guess what upsets me is not so much that it's not private, and likely effectively a front for the intelligence agencies, but that it became so sneakily without updating the original claim that it was secure.

So, no thanks, time to look for alternatives. Not sure what, though.