updated 09:37 am EDT, Fri October 11, 2013
Government considers banning information sharing
Luxembourg's data-protection commissioner has reportedly opened an investigation into connections between Skype and the National Security Agency's PRISM surveillance program, according to a Guardian report. The commissioner is said to be looking into potential violations of the country's data-protection and privacy laws, which could lead to fines or other sanctions.
The company is now owned by Microsoft, however it is headquartered in Luxembourg and required to adhere to local privacy regulations. Participation in PRISM appears to conflict with such laws, however the report notes that the company could be cleared of wrongdoing if its actions are found to have been secretly approved through agreements between Luxembourg and the US.
Leaked NSA files suggest Skype was ordered to participate in the NSA surveillance program early in 2011, ahead of Microsoft's buyout. Under leadership of the Redmond-based software giant, the data-mining initiative is claimed to have escalated despite Skype's public claims that one-to-one audio and video calls are encrypted and not passed through central servers.
"Skype promoted itself as a fantastic tool for secure communications around the world, but quickly caved to government pressure and can no longer be trusted to protect user privacy," said Privacy International research head Eric King in a statement.
Luxembourg's data-protection commissioner has yet to formally announce details of its ongoing investigation.