Campaigners challenge Skype over privacy policy

A number of campaign groups are calling for Skype to disclose details on how it handles user data.

Reporters Without Borders and the Electronic Frontier Foundation are among the key signatories of an open letter to the VoIP company, which was acquired by Microsoft for $8.5 billion in 2011. The campaigners believe Skype should reveal what information is stored and what is accessible to governments and other third parties.

The letter, addressed to executives of both Skype and Microsoft, describes how many people rely in the service as a means of communication, and that “It is unfortunate that these users, and those who advise them on best security practices, work in the face of persistently unclear and confusing statements about the confidentiality of Skype conversations, and in particular the access that governments and other third parties have to Skype user data and communications.”

The campaigners add, “we believe that from the time of the original announcement of a merger in October 2011, and on the eve of Microsoft’s integration of Skype into many of its key software and services, the time has come for Microsoft to publicly document Skype’s security and privacy practices.”

Microsoft told the BBC is it reviewing the letter and considering the request. It may feel under pressure to oblige seeing other tech giants such as Google and Twitter already provide transparency reports about how they handle user data.