Skype In … On Your Chat About China

Canadian researchers have discovered that the Chinese wing of Skype, Ebay’s Internet communications company, has been monitoring its users’ text chats and scanning for sensitive keywords, including the word “democracy.”

The Register, a British technology publication, reported that a text filter scanned messages for the sensitive phrases that, if found, were uploaded and stored on servers in China.

Skype said that its Hong Kong-based partner, TOM Online, had put the text filter in place surreptitiously, and apologized for the breach of privacy.

The Citizen Lab, based at the University of Toronto, exposed the surveillance and created a list of words that triggered the text filter, the article said.

The filter looks for words like Taiwan independence, earthquake and milk powder — the latter referring to China’s recent tainted milk powder scandal.

The incident highlights the controversy around China’s ongoing surveillance, considered to be one of the largest governmental movements to censor information on the web.

–Julia Hengst/


“Skype admits Chinese privacy breach”
The Register, October 3, 2008

One thought on “Skype In … On Your Chat About China

  1. The Chinese have proven,over and over they can’t be trusted. Why do we do business with a communistic country who is building such a large military? …and who show NO regard for the freedoms and liberties of others???