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Worth Reading: Trevor Pott's editorial on NSA PRISM and its real ramifications

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  Just a bunch of politicking for the sake of looking good.  Of course the U.S. just BS'd them and sent them on their merry way.....

EU commissioner wants to protect citizens from Prism
06.14.2013 9:40 AM
Europe's Justice Commission said Friday that she would not sacrifice European citizens rights for United States national security.
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Or we could do what Aerosmith was/is still singing about....'Eat the rich'.

That would solve quite some issues quickly  ;)

Or we could do what Aerosmith was/is still singing about....'Eat the rich'.
-Shades (June 21, 2013, 07:40 PM)
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Lightweights. Do it the right way, with Motörhead:

Even more from the NYT <article here>...

Web’s Reach Binds N.S.A. and Silicon Valley Leaders
Published: June 19, 2013

WASHINGTON — When Max Kelly, the chief security officer for Facebook, left the social media company in 2010, he did not go to Google, Twitter or a similar Silicon Valley concern. Instead the man who was responsible for protecting the personal information of Facebook’s more than one billion users from outside attacks went to work for another giant institution that manages and analyzes large pools of data: the National Security Agency.

Mr. Kelly’s move to the spy agency, which has not previously been reported, underscores the increasingly deep connections between Silicon Valley and the agency and the degree to which they are now in the same business. Both hunt for ways to collect, analyze and exploit large pools of data about millions of Americans.

The only difference is that the N.S.A. does it for intelligence, and Silicon Valley does it to make money.
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A Skype executive denied last year in a blog post that recent changes in the way Skype operated were made at the behest of Microsoft to make snooping easier for law enforcement. It appears, however, that Skype figured out how to cooperate with the intelligence community before Microsoft took over the company, according to documents leaked by Edward J. Snowden, a former contractor for the N.S.A. One of the documents about the Prism program made public by Mr. Snowden says Skype joined Prism on Feb. 6, 2011.

Microsoft executives are no longer willing to affirm statements, made by Skype several years ago, that Skype calls could not be wiretapped. Frank X. Shaw, a Microsoft spokesman, declined to comment.
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Here's the Skype blog post referenced in the NYT article. I pulled a copy because I expect it to disappear or be 'edited' "real soon now."

It's long...What Does Skype's Architecture Do?

07/26/2012 in Big Blog by Mark Gillett

In the last few days we have seen reports in the media we believe are inaccurate and could mislead the Skype community about our approach to user security and privacy. I want to clear this up.

At Skype, we continue to be humbled and grateful for the commitment to our product that we see from our truly global user community. We focus every day on building the best possible product for sharing experiences whenever people are apart. We want Skype to be reliable, fast, easy to use, and in most cases – free. It works for Moms and Dads, teachers, soldiers, kids and sisters, brothers, grandparents, lovers and old friends all over the world. Our growth during the last nine years shows we are on the right path, and to our entire community, we say “thank you.” We are privileged to serve 250 million active users each month and support 115 billion minutes of person to person live communications in the last quarter alone. We believe that communication is a fundamental human need and that while we’ve been privileged with tremendous success we are just scratching the surface of the communications experiences that we plan to create.

Of course, this doesn’t happen by magic. It is no small technical challenge to make sure that people can connect whenever and wherever they wish. It requires investment, innovation and commitment to using new technology and capabilities. In addition to solving the challenges of scaling and providing reliable, dependable communications that people love, we operate globally and have an obligation to operate responsibly. We are committed to doing a great job at both – providing a phenomenal experience for all users, and acting as a responsible global citizen.

Despite these efforts, some media stories recently have suggested Skype may be acting improperly or based on ulterior motives against our users’ interests. Nothing could be more contrary to the Skype philosophy.

Let me restate some of the allegations and provide the facts.

It has been suggested that Skype made changes in its architecture at the behest of Microsoft in order to provide law enforcement with greater access to our users’ communications.


Skype’s architecture decisions are based on our desire to provide the best possible product to our users. Skype was in the process of developing and moving supernodes to cloud servers significantly ahead of the Microsoft acquisition of Skype. Skype first deployed ‘mega-supernodes’ to the cloud to improve reliability of the Skype software and service in December 2010. These nodes have been deployed in Skype’s own data centres, within third-party infrastructure such as Amazon’s EC2, and most recently within Microsoft’s data-centers and cloud. The move was made in order to improve the Skype experience, primarily to improve the reliability of the platform and to increase the speed with which we can react to problems. The move also provides us with the ability to quickly introduce cool new features that allow for a fuller, richer communications experience in the future.

Early this year we completed our move of all of our supernodes into Microsoft’s global data-center footprint so we and our users can benefit from the network connectivity and support that powers Microsoft’s other global scale cloud software including Xbox Live, Bing, SkyDrive, Hotmail and Office 365. This provides a real benefit to our users and to our ability to continue to scale the Skype product.

It has been suggested that Skype has recently changed its posture and policies with regard to law enforcement.


The move to supernodes was not intended to facilitate greater law enforcement access to our users’ communications. Skype has had a team of Skype employees to respond to legal demands and requests from law enforcement since 2005. While we are focused on building the best possible products and experiences for our users, we also fundamentally believe that making a great product experience also means we must act responsibly and make it safe for everyone to use. Our position has always been that when a law enforcement entity follows the appropriate procedures, we respond where legally required and technically feasible. We have a policy posted to our main website that provides additional background on our position on this matter.

It has been suggested that as a result of recent architecture changes Skype now monitors and records audio and video calls of our users.


The move to in-house hosting of “supernodes” does not provide for monitoring or recording of calls. “Supernodes” help Skype clients to locate each other so that Skype calls can be made. Simply put, supernodes act as a distributed directory of Skype users. Skype to Skype calls do not flow through our data centres and the “supernodes” are not involved in passing media (audio or video) between Skype clients.

These calls continue to be established directly between participating Skype nodes (clients). In some cases, Skype has added servers to assist in the establishment, management or maintenance of calls; for example, a server is used to notify a client that a new call is being initiated to it and where the full Skype application is not running (e.g. the device is suspended, sleeping or requires notification of the incoming call), or in a group video call, where a server aggregates the media streams (video) from multiple clients and routes this to clients that might not otherwise have enough bandwidth to establish connections to all of the participants.

We believe that servers are the best way to solve these technical challenges, and provide the best possible experience to our user community.

As has always been the case, SkypeOut calls and incoming telephone calls to Skype on-line numbers (PSTN calls) do flow through gateways of our PSTN partners as this is required in order to connect them to the traditional telephone network.

It has been suggested that the changes we have made were made to facilitate law enforcement access to instant messages on Skype.


The enhancements we have been making to our software and infrastructure have been to improve user experience and reliability. Period.

In order to provide for the delivery and synchronization of instant messages across multiple devices, and in order to manage the delivery of messages between clients situated behind some firewalls which prevent direct connections between clients, some messages are stored temporarily on our (Skype/Microsoft) servers for immediate or later delivery to a user.

As I have outlined above, if a law enforcement entity follows the appropriate procedures and we are asked to access messages stored temporarily on our servers, we will do so. I must reiterate we will do so only if legally required and technically feasible.

Some commentators have suggested that Skype has stopped protecting its users’ communications.


Skype software autonomously applies encryption to Skype to Skype calls between computers, smartphones and other mobile devices with the capacity to carry a full version of Skype software as it always has done. This has not changed. The China-only version of the Skype software provided locally through our joint-venture partner contains a chat filter in accordance with local law.

As I described at the outset, our users and their Skype experience is our first priority.

We have an amazingly loyal and committed global user community and we believe that our users deserve the best products we can build.

Every day we focus on connecting Skype users to the people who matter to them, whether they are in Moscow, Miami or Mumbai and whether they are on PCs, iPhones, televisions, Windows Phones, Macs or Android devices. We constantly strive to design and deliver effective, safe and reliable communications software that is easy to use. We hope you will continue to love Skype.

Thank you for your continued support, use and passion about our products.

- Mark
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I particularly appreciate the spin doctoring when they chose to use the weasel-worded phrase: "It has been suggested..."  when it would have been far more accurate, and in keeping with the the nature of the original concerns to say: "Skype has been accused..."

I particularly appreciate the spin doctoring when they chose to use the weasel-worded phrase: "It has been suggested..."  when it would have been far more accurate, and in keeping with the the nature of the original concerns to say: "Skype has been accused..."
-40hz (June 22, 2013, 06:39 AM)
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Oh! I know this song!
"I called the Spin Doctor and what did he say? I called the Spin Doctor and what did he say? He said, "Ohh, eee, Ohh Ahh Ahh, Microsoft Bing, Walla Walla Ching Chang!"


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