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Skype partnering w/ Signal for new 'Private Conversations' encrypted messaging feature

12 January 2018, 06:27 | Justin Tyler

Signal >> Blog >> Signal partners with Microsoft to bring end-to-end encryption to Skype

Skype Private Conversations end-to-end encryption arrives for Insiders

There's no word as to when Microsoft expects to roll out end-to-end encryption to all Skype users.

With Private Conversations, you can have end-to-end encrypted Skype audio calls and send text messages or files like images, audio, or videos, using the industry standard Signal Protocol by Open Whisper Systems.

If you do start a Private Conversation, the contents of those chats will be hidden from the chat list and notifications will be turned off as well. Also, in this category are Facebook, WhatsApp, Google and Telegram. The encryption will cover chat, files, and audio messages, but not audio or video calls.

On one hand, this is an excellent new feature for Skype but on the other, why did it take so long to arrive? If they do not accept before then, the invite will expire, and you will need to send another one.

Microsoft says it plans to work on improving the user experience around invitations to join private conversations, and to bring this to the Universal Windows Platform Skype client.

Select the contact you'd like to start the Private Conversation with.

A Private Conversation will have a lock icon next to your contact's name. End-to-end crypto ensures only each end of the conversation - the people talking to each other - can decipher messages.

Skype's Private Conversations feature is based on the open-source Signal Protocol and offers several unique features, including device-specific threads and more.

Microsoft has released this feature in preview for Skype Insiders only at this point in time. Microsoft does hand over some people's details and chat logs where "legally required and technically feasible", Mark Gillett, the company's chief operating officer said at the time.

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