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Skype’s own privacy policy says it can spy on users’ IMs

July 24th, 2012 at 9:30 PM

There have been a lot of questions going around over the past few days about whether Microsoft (MSFT) and Skype are able to eavesdrop on their users’ conversations after some hackers accused the company of changing its architecture to make it easier for companies to snoop on users. Now, ZDNet’s Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols has combed through Skype’s own privacy policy and has found out that it is at the very least keeping track of its users’ instant messages.

Under its privacy policy, Skype says that it stores user IMs “for a maximum of 30 days unless otherwise permitted or required by law” while storing voicemails for up to 60 days as well. According to Vaughan-Nicols, this means that “Microsoft can and does record all Skype IMs” and the company could very well be recording all Skype voice calls as well since Skype says that the data it collects “includes but is not limited to” what it lists in its privacy policy. He also notes that Skype says that it “co-operates with law enforcement agencies as is legally required and technically feasible,” so it’s more likely than not that any Skype IMs will wind up in the hands of law enforcement agencies if they request them.

“There is no reason to believe that they can’t record our  Skype voice calls as well,” he writes. “Therefore, any person or business who is concerned with their communication privacy should stop using Skype and look for an alternative.”

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