Skype announces end-to-end encryption is coming to the platform

In a new feature to be known as ‘Private Conversations’, Skype will be using encryption technology from Signal, one of the most popular ultra-secure messaging apps available today.

Signal is the same app that Edward Snowden has consistently recommended for those with privacy worries to download.

In years gone by, many privacy advocates and activists have raised concerns over the true confidentiality of conversations carried out over Skype. Many were surprised at the announcement, given that people had noticed changes in the company’s architecture allegedly making it less private since it was acquired by Microsoft.

Yesterday (11 January), Skype announced it would be using the open-source Signal Protocol to implement encryption on its platform, so not even the servers the conversations pass through can pick up on the contents of the messages if both users are using it.

Simple and private communication

In a statement, Joshua Lund, a developer at Signal said: “At Signal, our goal is to make private communication simple and ubiquitous. With hundreds of millions of active users, Skype is one of the most popular applications in the world, and we’re excited that Private Conversations in Skype will allow more users to take advantage of Signal Protocol’s strong encryption properties for secure communication.”

 Forbes reported the encryption technology of Signal is so strong it was approved last year for use in the US Senate.

Beta-testers only

The Private Conversations feature is currently only accessible to users who have signed up to be an Insider, beta-testing features and updates before wider release is possible. Encryption will not be the default setting, however, and privacy-conscious users will have to choose an option to commence a private conversation.

According to Wired, Skype will still be able to see things like duration of conversations and when they occur. Private video chats are also not yet a feature of the new update.

Skype launch screen on smartphone. Image: Chonlachai/

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