back to article Report: Skype set up Project Chess to enable official snooping

For the last five years, Skype has been running an internal team called Project Chess to investigate methods to allow law enforcement to listen in on users' phone calls, sources have told The New York Times. Project Chess was set up after the company (then owned by eBay) started having discussions with the government over …

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Anonymous Coward

Ironic that Snowden is now behind the Great Firewall

What an idiot, China is a country where they listen in on 300 million phone numbers , not 300. Hong Kong people are part of it - look at Skype Tom which handles all China traffic .

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WTF?

Re: Ironic that Snowden is now behind the Great Firewall

OK I give up. I've read this 3 times now and I still don't know what you're trying to say.

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Black Helicopters

Re: Ironic that Snowden is now behind the Great Firewall

Wrong! Hong Kong is outside the Great Firewall, and we intend to keep it there. I can search for and find pictures of someone standing in front of a tank, or the shenanigans of communist party officials whenever I want.

The question of who is watching me do it is entirely different. On current evidence, assuming the answer is "Everyone!" would be wise (though they must be very bored doing it).

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Meh

Re: Ironic that

What is really ironic is that the country that is supposed to protect the individual, promote freedom of speech and guarantee their privacy and freedom of expression , namely the USA is a backdoor oppressor of these rights.

The worst part is that it is all underhand and without transparency. They can't very well criticise other regimes now can they because they have become a regime and all with the collusion of big business in the name of security.

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Unhappy

Re: Ironic that

@LarsG - spot on!

I used to have some respect for US as historically being 'land of the free', 'land of opportunity' etc. but in recent years it has last much of it's leadership in this respect. Land of the free is now monitoring all phone calls and internet traffic and doublespeaking about all of it, dissolution of habeas corpus, torturing and killing of suspects both outsourced to other countries and on US soil (Guantanamo IS US soil), and to US citizens (Google Jose Padilla). You can have justice if you're rich and can afford the lawyers, otherwise you have the choice of guilty plea, or else get book thrown at you in endless case till you're bankrupt.

Land of opportunity now has huge and widening gap between richest and poorest people with social and economic mobility dropping lower and lower on the scale.

To be clear, US is still a MUCH better place to be living and doing business than for example China, Saudi Arabia, and in fact most of Asia, Africa and Central America. But really the America of old should aspire to be the best and to be true to it's ideals instead of shredding those ideals on the twin altars of fear and greed

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Childcatcher

Re: Ironic that

"They can't very well criticise other regimes now can they because they have become a regime and all with the collusion of big business in the name of security."

Ah, but the USA does it to protect the children and thwart the horrid terrorists! Whereas Bad Countries do it because they Hate Our Freedoms and Love Tyranny and enjoy crushing the human spirit.

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Big Brother

Lands of the Free

Perhaps the USA's proclamations about liberty are in line with the nations that have named themselves "Democratic Republic of *" and "Peoples' Republic of *"?

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Anonymous Coward

It should be no surprise that letting the man listen is happening on Skype. Microsoft has a lot of government contracts and the government doesn't like it when its vendors don't do as asked. While this was being worked on under eBay, part of the reason was that the government could make the life of Skype and that of eBay very painful. The FCC could consider Skype as telco provider and require them ti allow lawful intercept as well as E911. Heavy fines as well as being forced to stop offering service would be on the table. By Skype and their owner keeping silent, they got to not inform their customers of what was really transpiring.

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Black Helicopters

I'd not be surprised

To discover that the seemingly pointless acquistion of Skype for a large sum by Microsoft was partly (maybe largely) funded by the US gov as it knew MS was already a very backdoor-friendly (take that however you please) company and it was the easiest method to get a tapping interface into Skype.

Rename it to SPYke perhaps.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I'd not be surprised

I'd be surprised if it weren't.

It seemed obvious that the anti-trust disappeared for a reason.

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Big Brother

Re: I'd not be surprised

Blimey I'd forgotten about that...

Just as They intended

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Bah, don't worry me none, I junked it before this.

As it turns out, the straw that broke the camel's back for me was the recent barrage of forced and obtrusive advertising. I had this version installed for some time, but the constant _forced_ upgrades (no way to turn them off even though they have a "pretend" button for it), and the ads that came in quick succession, pretty much did it for me.

Still looking for a suitable alternative though, till then, at least no bastard will bother me. :-)

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Bronze badge

Re: Bah, don't worry me none, I junked it before this.

I moved all my family to 2.8, because the current version doesn't do video reliably. And the interface to the newer versions is pretty horrible too. (The PCs I put on 6.1, the interface isn't so horrid)

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Coffee/keyboard

Remember that time when Skype super-nodes went down for a day or so.

Wondered what was going on then.

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Glad we're switching over..

We're working with a number of companies, and it's become interesting to run our own Asterisk server. Messaging we sorted out a while back with our own Jabber server.

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Headmaster

Skype Told The Truth

> [Skype] denied these rumors, saying the changes in the use of traffic "supernodes" were intended to make calls more reliable and make life easier for consumers.

When you understand that Skype's "consumers" are the FBI and NSA, then you will understand that they were being entirely truthful.

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Anonymous Coward

shock! horror!

they have been... misleading?! The foundation of our modern ITC - misleading, on purpose?! The same people who - no quote, but no doubt there would be plenty - produce dozens of "policies" documents, with hundreds of pages of smiling faces along the reference to their "honest, fair, and strictly ethical behaviour" - have been misleading us all this time?!

...

calm down dear, here's the hankie, they had to, they couldn't reveal the truth, it's the law, you see. It must have been horrible to them too, you know. All this burden of knowledge. All those sleepless nights in the executive bed... They had to, ehm... trust me.

...

allright then! I forgive you, Microsoft, there.

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Anonymous Coward

Xbone

Doesn't the XBone come with this Skype government spyware included?

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WTF?

Re: Ironic that Snowden is now behind the Great Firewall

The deluded idiots actually refer to themselves as 'Leaders of the Free World' Hahahaha ROFL!

Whereas they are just the same as China - A Crony Corporate State.

So we have a choice between; The West and China. Crony Corporatism. Or Russia. Mafia State.

What a frikin mess! WON'T SOMEONE THINK OF THE CHILDREN!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Ironic that Snowden is now behind the Great Firewall

WON'T SOMEONE THINK OF THE CHILDREN!

But we do. In the same vein that we have the state safeguarding our rights & freedom, we have priests taking care of our children.

/sarcasm

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Joke

Tee hee?

Dear eBay

Thank you for letting us do some R&D development with Skype.

The project has been very successful and we would like to take it further but there is one problem: Skype is owned by eBay.

We have taken the initiative to have talks with several of our senior partners in this form of research and development and are glad to report that the project can go ahead provided eBay sell Skype to Microsoft.

blah-blah-de-blah-blah

Yours securely

NSA

(please destroy this message after reading it as it helps with our de-dupe algorithms)

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Linux

Evil Micro$oft. Linux 4eva!!!

Despite reading several times that this was pre-takeover, I will take this opportunity to say that it is all M$' fault because reasons.

Linux am much betterer.

If you disagree, you're just not smart enough to understand why.

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I've read enough bull shit statements to pick out when people are sidestepping the question. The fact that reporters didn't press Skype management on their "statements" a long time ago is... Well, expected.

Want to know how to make this better? Start listening to exactly what people are saying and call them on it when the hard questions are avoided. Sure, your car might explode while you are driving down the street, but at least everyone will know they were up to something.

Not bothering with "anonymous", they know who we are anyway.

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Meh

A Skype communication is not a telephone call

The rules are different.

"Notice how it is precisely worded to be technically accurate, yet leave the reader with the wrong conclusion." There is not enough "duh" in the world for this one. To the Romerocopter!

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Anonymous Coward

Simple alternative to Skype for voice only, no installer, no server required....

"Reread that Skype denial from last July, knowing that at the time the company knew that they were giving the NSA access to customer communications. Notice how it is precisely worded to be technically accurate, yet leave the reader with the wrong conclusion. This is where we are with all the tech companies... we can't trust their denials, just as we can't trust the NSA – or the FBI – when it denies"...

Is there no simple Skype alternative being suggested here? By that I mean a simple app that runs without an installer or needing to go set-up a server? I'd be happy with just voice and no video for a standalone ready-to-go app.... I want something I can could email friends and family.... Any takers?...

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Anonymous Coward

USA Inc's 'Sweet Little Lies'.....

"....The country that is supposed to protect the individual, promote freedom of speech and guarantee their privacy and freedom of expression... is a backdoor oppressor of these rights.The worst part is that it is all underhand... They can't very well criticise other regimes now... because they have become a regime with the collusion of big business in the name of security."

The 'Land of the Free'? ....It was always a lie. It was just a glossy brochure, tourist guide, and press-pack marketing campaign for USA Inc. In a perfect world your truths would be on the marketing materials. All of America should watch' The Lives of Others' (2006) and read George Orwell's 'Animal Farm'!

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