Skype introduces Private Conversations with end-to-end encryption

Skype displaying a Private Conversation acceptance screen

Not all chats will be private with the option only available if you choose the recently added "New Private Conversation" option when you start a new chat. If they do not accept before then, the invite will expire, and you will need to send another one. This is an additional layer of security for conversations and is only available for one-on-one chats.

The new feature is now out in preview for Skype Insiders. You can do that by right-clicking on the conversation and selecting Delete chat. To recover the Private Conversation after you've deleted it, start a Private Conversation with that contact again and you'll be able to pick up where you left off. For now, all of these conversations must be one-to-one, as no group messages are allowed. 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. A lock icon will appear next to a contact's name to show that a conversation is encrypted.

For now, Private Conversations can only occur between two Skype Insiders (one-on-one) who are running the latest version of the application. Microsoft does hand over some people's details and chat logs where "legally required and technically feasible", Mark Gillett, the company's chief operating officer said at the time.

If Microsoft gives the go-ahead and E2E support lands in the Skype stable release, all of today's major IM platforms will be supporting encrypted conversations as optional, non-default features. You can not edit a message or forward a file.

Microsoft's owned video calling and chat app Skype is testing its own version of end-to-end encryption feature.

Private Conversations are specific to a device.



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