Skype is testing end-to-end encryption conversation

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Skype does already offer some degree of encryption that protects the communication channel itself. But that's set to change.

Skype's end-to-end encryption will use the industry standard Signal Protocol from Open Whisper Systems. Microsoft has announced this new feature via a blog post and is calling it as " Private Conversations". It only works with one-to-one chats at this stage - so video calls and group chats remain unencrypted.

A Private Conversation will have a lock icon next to your contact's name, and preview messages will not show up in Chats or notifications. But end-to-end encryption is more secure.

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In addition, if you've been using Facebook's sign-in service to log into your Skype account - you'll need to update your credentials as that mode of connection has been shut down. End-to-end encryption will be provided for text messages, audio calls, as well as several types of files.

There's also likely to be debate over whether the feature risks confusing Skype users who might mistakenly believe all their comms on Skype are going to be strongly encrypted going forward - when in fact they will have to actively choose e2e encryption every time they want to use it.

How to use private conversations:Give it a try by selecting "New Private Conversation" from the compose menu or from the recipient's profile. Once the conversation or message chain begins, it will remain end-to-end encrypted until it is ended, the post said. Private Conversations can only be between you and one other contact.

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Skype had the potential to be what WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger are now. But this isn't the same as end-to-end encryption. "We're excited about the future of Signal Protocol and the places it is going", said Lund. "You can only participate in a private conversation from a single device at a time", added Kilborne. "You can switch the conversation to any of your devices, but the messages you send and receive will be tied to the device you're using at the time". Assuming this is true since both partners are regarding it as a new "Private Conversations" feature instead of giving complete blanket coverage.

Private Conversation capabilities are limited.

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