Carp Diem – Buyer Beware! Skype has changed its owner, it’s face, and now the noose is about to close on anyone who worked on the program before.
If you were foolish enough to upgrade to the latest version of Microsoft’s Skype program you are in for a surprise coming in the New Year. That is when Microsoft will turn off all the add-on programs that were made for the last 8 years to extend the potential of Skype.
First you have to understand that only a couple years ago Microsoft purchased Skype for several billion dollars from the original developers. While you might have known that you might have missed that Skype owners had refused to hand over the encryption security keys to the US government. This not only stopped the NSA from spying on Skype calls but also allowed Skype users to continue to use the program with secure encryption.
Shortly after Skype’s confrontation with the spying agencies Microsoft, who has no problem working with, and taking, money for information handed to the government, bought the company and started to make changes. As we all know now, Microsoft was exposed as one of the major information companies working with the NSA to hand over backend data access to them for a price.
To assure the continued access of the NSA and other US spy agencies Microsoft had to stop outside companies from using software hooks to add functionality to Skype without Microsoft’s scrutiny, approval and the embedding of more spy software. Microsoft had to make sure that additional software did not interfere, or add additional functionality to the software security keys or other functionality of Skype. To do this Microsoft has decided to end the “open source” part of the program and cut off all companies who had been doing add-on software functionality to Skype.
Case In Point
A case in point is the program Pamela, which is an add-on answer machine and call recorder for Skype. An amazing program, it acts as an answering machine and can record calls or just make recordings for other uses. On the New Year it will no longer function in Skype. The program, Skype, gives warnings each time it is loaded that this program will no longer work after Jan 1 and you should go to the Microsoft online store and see if there are any approved and modified programs suitable for Skype.
Microsoft is following Apple in controlling all programs, and cashing in on them, using a store model. You must get your applications from them and those applications must have hooks for Microsoft to continue its contracts with various government agencies to pass data to them.
Like the pseudo cloud, where government servers are used to store your data to make it easier to spy on, you are forced to use programs designed to give up any right to privacy you thought you had. Skype was once a good piece of software that allowed you to chat with friends, family and business associates while assure you privacy through encryption. Now the functionality is still there but we are being herded into a corner where nothing is private or secure and outside companies are no longer able to make software to add functionality without first passing a test at Microsoft assurance that the software will not allow privacy or encryption that cannot be passed on to spying agencies.
And you thought Big Brother was fiction.