Skype - the wiretap killer

I was amused to read this week that the US government has admitted that Skype Internet telephony calls are almost impossible to tap, owing to the way they are processed.

The problem, say US media reports, is that unlike most other Internet voice services, Skype calls are encrypted. The encryption technology was built into the system from day one, and, even if new owners eBay wanted, couldn't be easily removed.

Ironically, however, Skype doesn't actively promote the security of its calls, as its main selling point - if that's the right word - has been ease of use and, of course, free or nearly-free calls.

It's worth noting that Skype was founded by the same Swedish and Estonian entrepreneurs who created the Kazaa file-sharing network, which has been the subject of several court actions by the music industry.

Could they have included encryption just to thumb their noses at government officials and other suit jobs around the world?

Could the NSA or other interested parties crack the Skype encryption?

I doubt it, as the encryption system reportedly uses 256 bit keys, which is pretty uncrackable...