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
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)

(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.

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Jul 15, 2013 8:45 AM CDT
Makes you wonder how much information NSA gets that is actually helpful. Can't find any evidence on actual bombing suspects when Russia had informed the government twice to keep an eye on the bombing suspect from the Boston Marathon. If you have people pointing out a potential threat.... here, watch them, they are bad people... and they still complete their bombing mission, then how accurate is the NSA in their search for terrorists. Maybe they are looking too hard at American Citizens personal lives and bogged down with it to focus on threats pointed out to them. That is why the US Constitution states they need probable cause for a search warrant to obtain information. The NSA has a blanket warrant with no ending time line to stop their search on the American people. Since when in the histroy of the nation has there ever been an open ended search warrant for information until now? The NSA has their court and judge that a suspect can't have an attorney object to before a warrant is issued, so why not gather probable cause on their people of interest and get a warrant for those specific people instead of collecting information on the entire country. May narrow their search fields for actual suspect and maybe prevent the next bombing when another country points the out to our government. Bottom line, they won't be bogged down with the influx of every American citizen's information and emails.
Jul 13, 2013 3:38 AM CDT
Microsoft selling my info? Makes me feel good after I switch all my computers to windows 8, my phone to windows 8, my console to Xbox, and I turn to Skype to talk to my overseas friends.
Jul 12, 2013 1:51 PM CDT