Skype’s privacy credentials has been questioned when they refused to comment on whether it could listen in on conversations. Now the Internet chat service is facing another privacy-related rebound—after allegedly turning over over user information without a warrant to a private security firm investigating pro-WikiLeaks activists.
As part of that investigation, PayPal seemingly employed the private security company iSight to assist and find those creditworthy.
Headquartered in Texas and with a European base in Amsterdam, iSight describes itself as a “global cyber intelligence firm” that “supports leading federal and commercial entities with targeted and unique insights necessary to manage cyber risks.”
iSight’s Netherlands–based manager of global research, Joep Gommers, pursued an online chase in an attempt to hunt down the hackers, finally leading to a number of Dutch citizens, among them a 16-year-old boy functioning under a pseudonym. Gommers reportedly contacted Skype, also a client of iSight, and requested account data about the teenager.
According to Winter’s report, “the police file notes that Skype handed over the suspect’s personal information, such as his user name, real name, e-mail addresses and the home address used for payment.” It adds that Skype disclosed the information voluntarily, “without a court order, as would usually be required.”