Skype, the popular online tool to make audio/video calls over internet has recently been criticized from multiple quarters. The service had been lambasted for allegedly colluding with Microsoft in wiretapping user’s data. The exact charge was that Skype was collaborating with law enforcement agencies and would be tapping user data to hand it over to police when required.
Microsoft was also in the eye of the storm of rumors since it owns Skype now and most analysts accused it of influencing Skype’s policy. Until now, Skype and Microsoft have been rather silent about it.
Now, Skype chief development officer Mark Gillett has done a detailed post about the issue, categorically denying all charges that have been leveled against Skype over the past few days.
Gillett explains that although Skype has moved nodes to in-house data centers, owned by Microsoft, this in no way means that Skype intends to monitor user’s conversation. In fact, he said, although users have to rely on these nodes to discover each other, their audio and video calls themselves are through direct communication and usually bypass Skype’s equipment. In his exact words, “Skype to Skype calls do not flow though our data centres and the ‘supernodes’ are not involved in passing media (audio or video) between Skype clients.”
However, if the case is different when it comes to conference calls. Nonetheless, Gillett says, this was done solely to improve the quality and reliability of Skype conversations. And in no way does this show that Skype wants to give out your data to the authorities. But if there is a valid request from the authorities, through proper procedures, Skype would hand over the messages to them, he added.
He divulged the Skype policy of storing user data for some time, “In order to provide for the delivery and synchronisation of instant messages across multiple devices, and in order to manage the delivery of messages between clients situated behind some firewalls which prevent direct connections between clients, some messages are stored temporarily on our (Skype/Microsoft) servers for immediate or later delivery to a user.”