Published: Fri, January 12, 2018
Science | By Eileen Rhodes

Skype is testing new 'private conversations' with end-to-end encryption

Skype is testing new 'private conversations' with end-to-end encryption

According to Microsoft, preview messages from Private Conversations will not show in chats or notifications, users can not edit a message and Private Conversations themselves are tied to a specific device, requiring a new invitation to be sent and accept to be accessed on another device. Microsoft is using the Signal Protocol by Open Whisper Systems to secure the data and for now, you can only use this feature with contacts that are participating in the Skype Insider Preview.

Skype had the potential to be what WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger are now. You can't edit messages or forward files in this mode, only emoticons, files, and audio messages are available to send. Skype on the other hand, has always been criticized for not being safe and willing to share your sensitive information with authorities if the need arises.

While a host of consumer chat and calling products utilize end-to-end encryption, Skype using the technology could make it a better option for Microsoft shops operating in highly-regulated markets.

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Additionally, private conversations can only take place on the devices they're initiated from.

In order to further protect privacy, Private Conversations will not be shown in Chats or in any form of notification. The feature is made possible via Signal Protocol's encryption, though it isn't available to non-Insiders at this time. Up next, we'd like to improve the UX around the invite to join a private conversation and bring the experience to the UWP client. Having to do this every time on Skype would be more of headache than feature. You can do that by right-clicking on the conversation and selecting Delete chat. Microsoft adds that "these interactions are limited to one-to-one conversations".

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