Skype, eBay and the NSA… oh my!
February 11, 2007
Posted by on
7 years ago I would have read this slashdot comment and thought the author needed a little prozac to go along with his tin foil hat. Today? It seems entirely more plausible than not. That is a sad indictment of how far we have fallen in the last 7 years.
The context of this comment was in a discussion as to why Skype reads the BIOS and motherboard serial number on Windows PCs.
Here’s the comment, by user sideswipe76:
I am gonna repeat my grand conspiracy theory: It is my belief that eBay’s purchase of Skype was somehow coaxed by the NSA/CIA and here is why: Ebay’s purchase of Skype never made sense. Ebay could have included skypeout:// links in their auctions without spending a penny. That would be like saying slashdot can’t use IM unless they buy AOL. Skype spent way above considered market value for Skype and their share holders have applied no real pressure to have it turn a profit. This makes the transaction suspicious. The reason of course if because prior to the eBay’s purchase Skype was owned in Luxembourg and definitely not an ideal partner for eavesdropping on “terra’rists” (given those crazy European privacy laws). Given that the calls are encrypted, and that Skype does maintain the keys to decrypt those session, getting Skype under US subpeona power is a powerful tool for eavesdropping. Infact, because it is VoIP for most if not all of the calls, it can easily route traffic into the US were it can be picked up, decoded and monitored. Or, since it is known that open IP’s become super nodes, Skype can naturally be coaxed into steering packets toward a super-node that can easily be monitored. I use to work for the company that wrote Carnivore. People got worked up over that? It was only the prototype.