Editor’s Note: And bound to be used in the Western world …
When young dissidents in Egypt were organizing an election-monitoring project last fall, they discussed their plans over Skype, the popular Internet phone service, believing it to be secure.
But someone else was listening in-Egypt’s security service.
An internal memo from the “Electronic Penetration Department” even boasted it had intercepted one conversation in which an activist stressed the importance of using Skype “because it cannot be penetrated online by any security device.”
Skype, which Microsoft Corp. is acquiring for $8.5 billion, is best known as a cheap way to make international phone calls. But the Luxembourg-based service also is the communications tool of choice for dissidents around the world because its powerful encryption technology evades traditional wiretaps.
Throughout the recent Middle East uprisings, protesters have used Skype for confidential video conferences, phone calls, instant messages and file exchanges. In Iran, opposition leaders and dissidents used Skype to plot strategy and organize a February protest. Skype also is a favorite among activists in Saudi Arabia and Vietnam, according to State Department cables released by WikiLeaks.
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