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Skype working on privacy problem

Skype has responded to the concerns of its users regarding retention of instant messages by the new Skype 5 VoIP and messaging client for Windows and Mac, updating its privacy policy and working to fix a bug with deleted messages.

Responding to our article regarding the many concerns users have with deleted messages appearing on other computers after being removed from the in-built Chat History, a Skype spokesperson told us: "Included in the new 5.0 version for Windows and 5.0 Beta for Mac is an offline and multi-synching Instant Messaging feature which provides Skype users the ability to send messages to contacts or members of group chats who are offline; the recipients then receives the message once they are online. This had been a recurring request from our users regarding the chat feature, and this change was reflected accordingly in our Privacy Policy."

Sure enough, the newly-updated privacy policy includes the following section: "Your chat communications content may be stored by Skype (a) to convey and synchronise your messages and (b) to enable you to retrieve your chat history where possible. Chat history messages will be stored for a maximum of 30 days. Skype will at all times take appropriate technical and security measures to protect your information. By using this product, you consent to the storage of your chat communications as described above."

This replaces the existing wording, which told users that their messages would never be stored centrally - and represents a major U-turn for the company's approach to its users private data.

Skype is looking to reassure its users that everything is still safe, however - and confesses that there are still some issues surrounding deleted messages returning from their digital grave: "We are aware that in some cases, deleted messages have not been correctly synchronised," the spokesperson told us, "and we are working to ensure that this is resolved urgently."

So, it looks like there's nothing for Skype's users to worry about: there is no privacy issue, and work is being carried out to ensure that deleted messages stay deleted. Jolly good.