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BLOG: Open letter to Microsoft calls for Skype transparency reports

Ms Smith | Jan. 28, 2013
On Data Privacy Day 2013, the world is watching Microsoft and waiting on answers about Skype posed by an open letter from 106 privacy organizations and advocates. Microsoft has been asked to come clean about eavesdropping by law enforcement via Skype and to release Skype transparency reports.

Earlier this month, the CSIS Security Group discovered that the banking malware Shylock is spreading through the use of Skype. "Shylock is one of the most advanced Trojan-banker currently being used in attacks against home banking systems. The timing does not seem completely coincidental as Microsoft just recently announced that they are discontinuing their Messenger solution and replacing it with Skype." This was not the first time that thesecurity or privacy of Skype users was potentially at risk.

Microsoft just released a series of privacy guides, Privacy in BingPrivacy in Internet Explorer 10Privacy on Xbox 360 and Xbox LivePersonal Data Dashboard and Privacy in Windows Phone 8, so Data Privacy Day 2013 would be a great time for Microsoft to come clean about Skype. Microsoft claimed that the latest release of privacy trends, guides and video show "how we take our privacy responsibilities seriously and put people first." Okay, well Microsoft/Skype users deserve the answers posed by the Skype open letter and need to see trustworthy transparency.

Google Transparency Report Government request for USA user data

It's clear that the public appreciates Google's Transparency Reports. In fact, the newest report that Google released last week is even more in-depth and shows yet another increase in U.S. government requests for users' data from July to December 2012.  

Richard Salgado, Google's legal director for law enforcement and information security, wrote, "For the first time we're now including a breakdown of the kinds of legal process that government entities in the U.S. use when compelling communications and technology companies to hand over user data." Furthermore, Google added, "We'll keep looking for more ways to inform you about government requests and how we handle them. We hope more companies and governments themselves join us in this effort by releasing similar kinds of data."

The world is watching and the ball is now in your court, Microsoft. Happy Data Privacy Day 2013!


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