Ever chatted with a friend online? Maybe it was text-based, maybe it was a voice call, perhaps it was even a video chat, but almost everyone who’s got anything to do with modern technology have done an online can’t before. There is a sense of convenience that comes with having a conversation over the internet, and along with it, many people also feel a sense of safety and security. People have time to calculate their words, and it makes them more comfortable.
But what if I told you that everything you say or do on the internet can potentially turn public very quickly, or at least be accessed by people you didn’t explicitly authorize at any given time? For many of you, the understanding that the internet is a public place comes naturally, and you’ve adopted with smarter practices to avoid bad situations. For others, this news is disturbing.
Whether you like it or not, your public information is accessible at any time, and the information you thought was completely private (like an instant message), can easily be used against you by the forces to be. If the police want your chat logs, they have ways of getting it. Now Skype is making that process even easier.
Skype, an online phone service that has been the favorite by millions of people all around the world, has been thought of by many criminals as a safer haven for their abilities to circumvent the traditional surveillance of police. Wire-tapping a Skype call on the internet is apparently more difficult than a phone call, or at least it was.
The service is now expanding it’s cooperation with law enforcement authorities to make online chats and other information from their users much more available. Skype is becoming one of the leaders in telecommunications across the world, and although attempting to keep track of online communication isn’t as practical as other mediums, this new level of cooperation could prove useful for law enforcement in keeping tabs on criminal activity.
Skype’s changes would give authorities access to user addresses and credit card numbers, a policy change that brings mixed responses with it (and for good reason). The architecture of the service is also far easier to monitor now, and according to the Washington Post, many hacker groups and privacy experts actually blame Microsoft, who has continuously operated with an immense amount of cooperation with law enforcement agencies around the globe.
But what do these changes mean to us users? For the vast majority of us, absolutely nothing. Your information has always been accessible by Skype employees and representatives, as well as law enforcement and government agencies alike. These changes are simply making it easier for them to obtain the information they need to catch “the bad guys.” As it’s always been, if you aren’t doing anything wrong, then there is no reason to have any worries about anything related to police surveillance.
… and if you have a big record, and are doing stuff you aren’t supposed to be (like conspiring to rob a bank or something via Skype call), then knock it the hell off and get a real job or something. Society in general tends to look at those who are actively contributing members of society in a brighter light anyways.
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