A helpful introduction on the advantages and disadvantages of Skype, how to use, and privacy information.
Whether you’re working from home or looking for a way to chat with others using video, Skype has broken traditional barriers to communication. Along with chatting with people in your in-app contacts, you can also use it to make international calls. If the person you’re talking to also uses a Skype account, talking to them doesn’t cost anything extra. For an extra charge, however, you can call and text your non-Skype contacts on their cellphones.
Free Skype to Skype video and voice calls
Available on many devices
Skype to Skype calls are encrypted
Ability to call cellphone and landlines for a fee
Landline and international calls are not encrypted
How to use Sype
Safety and Privacy Concerns
End-to end encryption is not enabled by default
You may have read previously about what end-to-end encryption is, but if you haven’t, it is simply a way to keep the conversation between you and whoever you are talking to, private. This means only you and the other party can see or hear what the content of the message is. While Skype does offer this feature, it is not enabled by default, meaning Microsoft, the owners of Skype, can tap into your messages if it wants to, or is requested by the government. If you are uncomfortable with the fact that someone can snoop around your messages when you’re talking to your family, it is best to enable the “Private Conversation” feature in Skype to enable end-to-end encryption.
Using conversations to improve services
In order to improve Skype calls and the Microsoft virtual assistant Cortana, Microsoft hired contract workers from China to review Skype calls. What is concerning is that access to these call recordings was passed from one contractor to another in the form of an email containing the login credentials. This means that access to voice recordings could easily have been sold or stolen. While Microsoft has rectified this issue by moving these review programs to secure facilities, it is better to just opt out of these review processes and enable the “Private Conversation” feature when talking or messaging on skype.
Mozilla tips on how to control your data
You can control or access your data via the Microsoft Privacy Dashboard. Microsoft does not state how long your data is kept for. Skype allows hosts to add and remove people from calls, mute users, toggle video and subtitles on and off, share screen, send an emoji reaction, and record calls. Those who pay for Skype for Business can choose who can enter, disable instant messages, mute all participants and block participants’ video.