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<nettime> Jacob Appelbaum on Skype (Skype interception - Project Chess)
Patrice Riemens on Mon, 24 Jun 2013 10:04:45 +0200 (CEST)


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<nettime> Jacob Appelbaum on Skype (Skype interception - Project Chess)


(bwo tetalab list)

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Jacob Appelbaum <jacob {AT} appelbaum.net>
Date: Thu, Jun 20, 2013 at 4:08 PM
Subject: [liberationtech] Skype interception - Project Chess
To: "liberationtech {AT} lists.stanford.edu" <liberationtech {AT} lists.stanford.edu>


Hi,

I encourage all Skype users and security people to read this article
about Silicon Valley and the spying world:

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/20/technology/silicon-valley-and-spy-ag
ency-bound-by-strengthening-web.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

This bit about Skype is fantastic:

"Skype, the Internet-based calling service, began its own secret
program, Project Chess, to explore the legal and technical issues in
making Skype calls readily available to intelligence agencies and law
enforcement officials, according to people briefed on the program who
asked not to be named to avoid trouble with the intelligence agencies.

"Project Chess, which has never been previously disclosed, was small,
limited to fewer than a dozen people inside Skype, and was developed
as the company had sometimes contentious talks with the government
over legal issues, said one of the people briefed on the project. The
project began about five years ago, before most of the company was
sold by its parent, eBay, to outside investors in 2009. Microsoft
acquired Skype in an $8.5 billion deal that was completed in October
2011.

"A Skype executive denied last year in a blog post that recent changes
in the way Skype operated were made at the behest of Microsoft to
make snooping easier for law enforcement. It appears, however, that
Skype figured out how to cooperate with the intelligence community
before Microsoft took over the company, according to documents leaked
by Edward J. Snowden, a former contractor for the N.S.A. One of the
documents about the Prism program made public by Mr. Snowden says
Skype joined Prism on Feb. 6, 2011.

"Microsoft executives are no longer willing to affirm statements, made
by Skype several years ago, that Skype calls could not be wiretapped.
Frank X. Shaw, a Microsoft spokesman, declined to comment.

I suspect that people will say "oh, activists don't need to worry
about the FBI or the NSA" - just remember - other intel agencies have
data sharing programs with the NSA. So a Dutch activist or a Moroccan
journalist are likely both just as screwed as an American activist
using Skype.

To the Skype promoters, apologists and deniers - I encourage you to
start using, and improving Jitsi - it needs a lot of love but it at
least has a chance of being secure, whereas Skype is beyond repair.

All the best,
Jacob


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