Microsoft this week announced that end-to-end encrypted communications are now available for preview to Skype insiders.
Called Private Conversations, the newly introduced feature secures both text chat messages and audio calls, Microsoft Program Manager Ellen Kilbourne revealed.
Furthermore, end-to-end encryption is also applied to any files users send to their conversational partners, including images, audio files, and videos. Not only will the contents of these conversations be hidden in the chat list, but they won’t appear in notifications either, to keep user’s information private.
Private Conversations, Kilbourne explains in a post, is using the industry standard Signal Protocol by Open Whisper Systems. The protocol is already providing end-to-end encryption to users of popular messaging applications such as Signal, WhatsApp, and Facebook Messenger.
Users enrolled in Microsoft’s Skype Insider program can already test the new feature by selecting “New Private Conversation” from the compose menu or from the recipient’s profile. As soon as the recipient has accepted the invitation to a private chat, all calls and messages in that conversation will be encrypted end-to-end, until they choose to end it.
Participation in a private conversation will be available from a single device at a time. Skype users will have the possibility to switch the conversation to any of their devices, but exchanged messages are tied to the device being used at the time.
During the preview period, private conversations will be available only to Skype Insiders running the latest version of the application. The chats are also limited to one-to-one conversations, Kilbourne explains.
The Private Conversations feature is currently available to Skype Insiders using Skype version 188.8.131.52 for iOS, Android, Linux, Mac, and Windows Desktop.