New legislation has been passed in Ethiopia that could imprison an individual for up to 15 years for making a 30-second call over Skype or Google Talk. The legislation has made it illegal to use any Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services from within the country, Al Jazeera reported. Not only does the law prohibit the use of VoIP services, but it also enables the state-owned Ethio Teleco to prohibit the use of video chatting, social media, email and any other data transfer service capable of communicating information. The legislation has been labeled as necessary for the country’s national security and will reportedly close a loophole that was allowing some citizens to communicate without being monitored by authorities. More →
Less than week before Microsoft’s Windows Phone Summit in San Francisco, various leaked screenshots highlighting key Windows Phone 8 features have found their way onto the Web. The alleged images, which were posted on Nokia Innovation, show off Skype integration that allows users to make calls with or without video and initiate Skype chats, and a redesigned camera app that is rumored to be called “Lenses.” The screenshots also highlight a new data monitoring system, similar to what is found in the latest version of Android, and a redesigned user-interface for the Nokia Drive 3.0 GPS app. An image of the redesigned camera app follows below. More →
A new security vulnerability in Skype has been discovered that allows a third-party script to reveal users’ remote and local IP addresses, according to GHacks. The script, which was uploaded to Github, allows users to lookup the IP addresses of any online Skype accounts. The code then initiates the contact addition process, but does not complete it. The log file will instead display the local and remote IP of the requested Skype user, even if the user is not added to the list of contacts. An IP address can be used to determine the location and Internet service provider of the user, and the only method of protecting against this vulnerability would be to use a virtual private network or proxy to hide the IP address. More →
Flying home for the holidays and navigating through crowded airports — or facing flight delays, as is often the case — may be a hair less dreadful this year. Skype announced recently that it is sponsoring free Wi-Fi in more than 60 U.S. airports from December 21st until December 27th. To activate the service, simply follow these directions:
- Sign in to Skype.
- Go to Tools > Options… > Skype WiFi Access.
- Tick Enable Skype WiFi Access.
- Connect to a WiFi public hotspot.
- In the Skype menu bar, click Tools > Skype WiFi Access.
- Follow the instructions on the screen to select and join a compatible public WiFi network.
Skype’s full press release, which includes a list of every airport where free Wi-Fi will be available, follows after the break. More →
New York University’s Polytechnic Institute has discovered a Skype security flaw that leaves Skype users’ locations and P2P sharing activity accessible to hackers. The security hole was discovered while NYU scientists monitored 10,000 Skype users and 20 volunteers during a two-week period. “A hacker anywhere in the world could easily track the whereabouts and file-sharing habits of a Skype user – from private citizens to celebrities and politicians – and use the information for purposes of stalking, blackmail or fraud,” professor Keith Ross from computer science NYU-Poly’s computer science program said. Hackers can also keep track of a Skype user’s movements as he or she places calls from various locations. The scientists were able to follow a Skype user during a vacation from New York to Chicago and then all the way home to France, Financial Post explained. “A fairly straightforward and inexpensive fix would prevent hackers from taking the critical first step in this security breach – that of obtaining users’ IP addresses through inconspicuous calling,” the scientists said. Skype chief information officer Adrian Asher said his company will work to improve the security of Skype’s software. More →
Skype on Thursday announced that its Mac OS X and Windows beta clients now support video calls to Facebook users. Skype introduced a Facebook-to-Facebook video client for the social network in July, but now users on both platforms can video chat with one another. Users who choose to download Skype 5.7 Beta on Windows or Skype 5.4 Beta on Mac will be prompted to enter in their Facebook credentials. Once logged in, Facebook friends will be presented on the Skype buddy list and a video chats can easily be initiated. Skype also said it has added a group screen-sharing feature for its Skype Premium Windows users, an option that was released in an earlier Mac OS X update. A video of Skype’s Facebook calling integration follows after the break.
Microsoft announced on Friday that it has completed its $8.5 billion purchase of Skype. Skype will exist as a new division within Microsoft and Skype CEO Tony Bates will continue to serve as the head of the Skype team. In addition, Skype’s employees around the globe will remain in their current offices. Microsoft confirmed that it will work to integrate Skype into its existing products, but it did not specifically say which products or when that would begin to happen. “We look forward to working with the Skype team to create new ways for people to stay connected to family, friends, clients and colleagues — anytime, anywhere,” Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said. The acquisition is still pending completion in several other countries. Read on for the full press release. More →
Fresh on the heels of launching a client for the iPad, Skype released Skype version 5.3 for Mac on Monday. The update adds support for Apple’s latest OS X Lion operating system as well as HD video chat. Users will now be able to send and receive HD-quality video using their built-in Mac webcams or other HD-capable cameras. Skype says that the feature will work best for those with internet connections that can maintain at least 1.5Mbps upload/download throughput. The software is compatible with with OS X Leopard and later versions of Apple’s PC operating system. More →
Facebook on Wednesday took the wraps off of the latest major addition to the world’s most popular social network: video chat. Through a partnership with Skype, Facebook video users will now be able to video chat with each other through the company’s new service… for free. The service works just like Skype’s standard video calling service, but video calls can be initiated right from within the Facebook website with a simple click. “A few months ago, we started working with Skype to bring video calling to Facebook,” Facebook wrote on its blog. “We built it right into chat, so all your conversations start from the same place. To call your friend, just click the video call button at the top of your chat window.” Facebook video calling will roll out to all users over the next few weeks. More →
Skype announced on Wednesday that its Android application now supports video calling on select devices. The application is particularly attractive because it allows mobile users to connect with other users on Mac, Windows, TV, iOS, or other Android devices. Skype says the app was built with a complete new redesign, too, which includes a new main menu, easier contact navigation, quick access to your profile, and more. There’s even a new “mood” message box that allows you to show what you’re up to or how you’re feeling. Skype for Android requires Android 2.3 and above, as well as a front-facing camera for video chat. It currently supports the HTC Desire S, the Sony Ericsson Xperia neo, the Sony Ericsson Xperia pro, and the Google Nexus S. Skype says it also has plans to roll out support for additional handsets in the near future. Hit the jump for a video demo of the new client in action. More →
HP’s webOS is already tightly integrated with a number of services but now it appears that the OS will soon offer Skype integration, too. According to leaked screenshots, users will soon be able to choose to route their calls directly through Skype from the phonebook application, an option that will no doubt save international callers a big chunk of change. Similarly, users may also be able to place Skype video calls, allowing them to use the front-facing camera on the Pre 3 for video chats. It’s unclear when the integration will be introduced, but this has us more excited than ever for the Pre 3 to finally hit store shelves. More →
Skype has started to fire several of its executives in an effort to reduce payouts from its Microsoft purchase, Bloomberg reported on Monday. Among the execs being let go are vice presidents Christopher Dean, David Gurle, don Albert, and Russ Shaw, as well as chief marketing officer Doug Bewsher, and the head of human resources, Anne Gillespi. Two other execs from Skype’s Qik acquisition earlier this year — Ramu Sunkara and Allyson Campa — were also fired according to the report. This could possibly mean that the executives will lose any stock options that were not yet vested. Microsoft announced on May 10th that it was acquiring Skype for $8.5 billion, and the deal is still pending FCC approval. More →