There's growing speculation coming out of Europe that there's a backdoor in Skype that allows remote eavesdropping of telephone conversations.
A report in the reputable Heise Online says the issue was discussed at a meeting with ISPs last month where high-ranking officials at the Austrian interior ministry claims "it is not a problem for them to listen in on Skype conversations."
The report said a number of others at the meeting confirmed that claim.
Heise Online said Skype officials declined to give a detailed response to specific queries as to whether the popular Internet telephone service contains a backdoor and whether specific clients allowing access to a system or a specific key for decrypting data streams exist.
The response from the eBay subsidiary's press spokesman was brief, "Skype does not comment on media speculation. Skype offers no further comment at present." There have been rumors of the existence of a special listening device which Skype is reported to offer for sale to interested states.
Because the vendor has not revealed details of its proprietary Skype protocol or of how the client works, questions as to what else Skype is capable of and what risks are involved in deploying it in an enterprise environment remain open, the report said.
It also cited public broadcast reports that Austrian police are able to listen in on Skype connections.
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