Microsoft Partners with Signal to Bring End-To-End Encryption to Skype

Pablo Tucker
January 12, 2018

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.

Skype had the potential to be what WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger are now. The feature is powered by the Signal Protocol. Each private conversation's content will be hidden in both the chat list and from notifications for better privacy. Interestingly, this feature is now unsupported on the UWP version of Skype, though Microsoft has mentioned that support for the UWP client can be expected soon. But this isn't the same as end-to-end encryption.


During the preview, users only will be able to start private conversations with other Skype Insiders using the latest preview version, and interactions will be limited to one-to-one conversations.

The key difference between the new feature and its typical chats is that users must specifically accept invitations to private conversations. You can't edit messages or forward files in this mode, only emoticons, files, and audio messages are available to send. The Microsoft-owned service has partnered up with Signal in order to enable the new functionality, which is optional and not default for every chat. Either right click or tap and hold on the conversation and select Delete chat.


This means that you will have to enter into the "Private Conversations" mode with whomever you want to have an encrypted conversation with.

At this point, it's unclear as to what plans Skype has to roll out Private Conversations to the general public, but you can join the Skype Insider program here. Now these conversations are limited to two people at a time.


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