NSA Is Watching Skype, Too

Guardian report says Microsoft helped feds spy

By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff

Posted Jul 12, 2013 9:00 AM CDT

(Newser) – Microsoft has no problem handing over your emails—or even your Skype calls—to the NSA, according to new documents from Edward Snowden, per the Guardian. In fact, the software company is working closely with the NSA to help it get around Microsoft's encryption. While Microsoft is arguing it's not part of PRISM, the NSA bragged last July that a new capability had tripled the number of Skype calls it could spy on through the program. Some other interesting details:

  • A NSA newsletter from December reads "MS, working with the FBI, developed a surveillance capability to deal" with circumventing encrypted chats on Outlook.com, after worries began during testing last July.

  • Another newsletter states, "PRISM collection against Hotmail, Live, and Outlook.com emails will be unaffected because PRISM collects this data prior to encryption."
  • On PRISM monitoring of Skype: "The audio portions of these sessions have been processed correctly all along, but without the accompanying video. Now, analysts will have the complete 'picture.'"
  • Microsoft also worked to allow NSA better access to its cloud storage service, SkyDrive, which has 250 million users.
Microsoft argues it does not "provide any government with blanket or direct access to SkyDrive, Outlook.com, Skype or any Microsoft product," the company said per Business Insider. "Until it was reported in the press, Microsoft had never heard of PRISM." Click for the full report.

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer talks during a news conference in San Francisco Tuesday, May 10, 2011, to announce Microsoft's acquisition of Skype.
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer talks during a news conference in San Francisco Tuesday, May 10, 2011, to announce Microsoft's acquisition of Skype.   (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)
FILE - The Skype logo is reflected in the eye of a reader using a handheld smartphone, in Berlin, Germany.
FILE - The Skype logo is reflected in the eye of a reader using a handheld smartphone, in Berlin, Germany.   (AP Photo/Patrick Sinkel, file)
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