Privacy Concerns Mount for Xbox One Amid Skype Spying Claims

Concerns emerge over Microsoft patents for Skype.

by on 24th May, 2013

Microsoft has been accused of aiding the ability of law enforcement agencies to spy on users of its Skype messaging service, which can be used in-game on Xbox One, after allegations emerged that the service can be 'wiretapped'.

Prior to Microsoft's $8.5 billion purchase of Skype the messaging service claimed that its peer-to-peer infastructure meant it could not be monitored by law enforcement. CNN reports that a re-engineering of the way in which Skype connects users could lead to conversations being eavesdropped on.

Meanwhile ExtremeTech's Tim Verry comments "Reportedly, Microsoft is re-engineering these supernodes to make it easier for law enforcement to monitor calls by allowing the supernodes to not only make the introduction but to actually route the voice fate of the calls as well.

"In this way, the actual voice data would pass through the monitored servers and the call is no longer secure. It is essentially a man-in-the-middle attack, and it is made all the easier because Microsoft - who owns Skype and knows the keys used for the service's encryption - is helping." 

Extreme Tech also reported that Skype's source code has been leaked to which Microsoft responded "Skype takes all necessary steps to prevent/defeat nefarious attempts to subvert the Skype experience. Skype takes its users safety and security seriously and we work tirelessly to ensure each individual has the best possible experience."

However, according to NewsFactor, technology Microsoft has patented means that "data associated with a request to establish a communication is modified to cause the communication to be established via a path that includes a recording agent."

Essentially meaning someone can monitor the conversation.

This may be of particular concern to Xbox One owners as the system requires use of the Kinect sensor to monitor those using content on the platform. Yesterday, we reported on a Microsoft patent which aims to allow the company to charge for content based on the number of consumers present when TV shows, movies and music is being played. 

Source: Global Post

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