Skype adds Private Conversations with end-to-end encryption

Skype displaying a Private Conversation acceptance screen

In an announcement, both Microsoft and Signal have announced a partnership to begin testing end-to-end encryption for Skype Insiders through a new "Private Conversations" feature.

Microsoft will be using the Signal open-source protocol to encrypt these communications.

The content of communications on Private Conversations will be hidden in the chat list and also in notifications.

Give it a try by selecting "New Private Conversation" from the compose menu or from the recipient's profile.

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In collaboration with Signal, Microsoft is introducing a Private Conversations feature in Skype, powered by Signal Protocol.

Skype has been the holdout when it comes to encrypting messages with all the other big players including end-to-end encryption either by default or as an option.

Signal has been rated the top messaging app for those who are privacy-conscious; back in 2016, there was evidence of this when the company was unable to provide anything more than the duration of a user's membership after it received a subpoena. However, the end-to-end goes a step further than this by encrypting stored messages as well. "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". This feature will also be limited to one-to-one conversations. That said, it's early days and the feature could get better as users start sending in their feedback.

After the rollout of this feature, Skype encryption will be fully secure with the secure communication channel and encrypted messages on the server.

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You will only be able to start private chats with other Skype Insiders running the latest version of the app during the preview.

Skype had the potential to be what WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger are now.

The Skype Insider app for Windows, macOS and Linux is available to download on this page, and the Android app can be found in the Google Play Store (Microsoft is no longer accepting beta testers on iOS).

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