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Monday, July 15, 2013


Via Slate
June 2008: Skype, while owned by eBay, goes on record saying it can’t help law enforcement agencies eavesdrop on users’ conversations because of its “peer-to-peer architecture and encryption techniques.”

[Unknown month, 2008: Secretly, Skype initiates an internal program called “Project Chess” to explore how it could make Skype calls readily available to intelligence agencies and law enforcement officials, according to the New York Times.]

September 2009: Skype is purchased by an investor group including two U.S. private equity firms Silver Lake and Andreessen Horowitz in partnership with the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board.

[November 2010: Work begins on integrating Skype into the NSA’s PRISM surveillance program, according to the Guardian.]

[Feb. 4, 2011: Skype is served with a directive to comply with NSA surveillance signed by the U.S. attorney general, according to the Guardian.] [That would be Attorney General Eric Holder]

[Feb. 6, 2011: Skype joins the PRISM program and the NSA begins spying on Skype calls. The agency reports that "feedback indicated that a collected Skype call was very clear and the metadata looked complete," according to the Guardian and the Washington Post.]

May 2011: Microsoft announces it is purchasing Skype for $8.5 billion.

June 2011: Microsoft obtains a patent for “legal intercept” technology designed to be used with services like Skype to “silently copy” communications.

[July 2012: The NSA boasts that a new capability has tripled the amount of Skype video calls being collected through PRISM, according to the Guardian.]

July 20, 2012: Skype refuses to answer repeated questions about whether it can or cannot comply with government surveillance.

July 26, 2012: Skype’s Mark Gillett writes a blog post dismissing media reports about Skype eavesdropping, which he says “we believe are inaccurate.”

March 2013: Microsoft publishes a transparency report claiming that it handed over the content of zero Skype communications in 2012. The company also claims that “Skype continues to operate under Luxembourg law.”

June/July 2013: The Guardian, the Washington Post, and the New York Times expose the extent of Skype’s collaboration with the U.S. government on surveillance.
Slate makes Microsoft the focus, completely ignores Eric Holder's key involvement.

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