Can someone spy on your Skype calls?

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by Doug Delony / KHOU 11 News

khou.com

Posted on July 24, 2012 at 5:21 AM

Updated Tuesday, Jul 24 at 11:30 AM

HOUSTON—You might use it to talk to friends and family or maybe you use it for work. We’re talking about Skype, and so are a lot of people on the Web lately.

The big question: can someone spy on your Skype conversations?

Slate.com recently spoke with the video chat service about these concerns, and a spokesman would not confirm nor deny whether or not it can eavesdrop.

Previously, it was well known the way Skype’s network was first set up, it was technically impossible for someone to spy on your video calls. Now a report from Forbes claims that Skype’s owner, Microsoft, is re-engineering the service, and these changes would allow for someone to "listen in."

When interviewed by Slate.com, Skype spokesman Chaim Haas said the chat service “co-operates with law enforcement agencies as much as is legally and technically possible.”

That leaves room for a lot of discussion, as it’s suggested Skype can share your conversations with law enforcement, although it’s not clear if it’s just the text or voice audio and camera visuals, too.

If you don't like this possibility, your only real option is to stop using Skype, but what about keeping out hackers or people who don't work for the government?

It’s not likely someone would target you or your Skype account in this way, but here are a few tips to give you some peace of mind:

1 -- Always download software updates when they're available as they’ll often include security patches and fixes.
2 -- Only download Skype from www.skype.com, not a "mirror" website.
3 -- Only use Skype on a trusted network (e.g. like at home/work, not the free connection at a coffeehouse).

This is where you come in: Would it bother you to know officials can tap into your Skype calls? Share your thoughts on the KHOU 11 News Facebook page or at the bottom of this page.

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