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Privacy International, a nonprofit privacy watchdog, this week pressured voice over internet protocol (VoIP) provider Skype to address concerns over the security of its services.
In a statement, Privacy International said it has reviewed Skype's technology and identified a number of security deficiencies that place users at risk. Specifically, Skype's interface uses full names on its contact list instead of usernames, making it easy to impersonate others, the group said.
In 2008 Skype's reputation in China took a hit after admitting it monitored texts and calls for "sensitive words." The Australian police has also publicly claimed it can bug Skype calls, though Skype has never commented on the matter.
Skype uses 256 bit AES encryption to encrypt communication between users, complicating the decryption of these communications. Skype's encryption is inherent in the Skype Protocol and is transparent to callers. This integration enables the regular use of (as of 2011) completely private[dubious – discuss] communication by the general public.
Speaking at a recent meeting on lawful interception between ISPs and Austrian regulators, an unnamed "high-ranking" official at Austria's interior ministry said that listening into a conversation over Skype presented no particular problems,