Skype gives up teen WikiLeaks supporter data to private security firm

Written by Russell Co. Posted in Networking, News, Security, Software and Apps

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Published on November 12, 2012 with No Comments

Looks like Skype isn’t as private as you’d think. Skype is now being accused of handing over user data to a private security firm, who were investigating WikiLeaks activists, without a warrant.

Dutch investigative journalist Brenno de Winter reported that Skype had turned over the personal data of a 16-year old WikiLeaks supporter to private security firm iSight.

PayPal had been attempting to track down hacktivists connected with Anonymous who had previously attacked the site in December 2010. For the investigation, PayPal had hired iSight, a “global cyber intelligence firm” with a European base in Amsterdam to uncover those responsible. iSight’s Netherlands office managed to link and track down a number of Dutch citizens who were involved, including the 16-year old who was operating under a pseudonym. The firm then contacted Skype, also one of their clients, for account data on the teenager, which included his username, real name, e-mail address, and home address used for payment. Winter reports that Skype had given up the data voluntarily and without a court order.

Skype is taking heat for this because contrary to their own privacy policy, which states that it will not hand over user data without permission “unless it is obliged to do so under applicable laws or by order of the competent authorities.” Skype, which was recently acquired by Microsoft said they take customer privacy quite seriously. “It is our policy not to provide customer data unless we are served with valid request from legal authorities, or when legally required to do so, or in the event of a threat to physical safety,” said a spokesperson.