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Governments Could Now Snoop On Your Skype Conversations

iMessage has always been on top of offering end-to-end encryption between users. Additionally, this secure messaging app allows users to control how long the message stays and how many times the recipient can view it. The main security issue that users complain about is the option to backup your iMessages to iCloud. Messages stored in the cloud are encrypted by keys controlled by Apple, so if your iCloud were ever hacked, those messages could be revealed. However, the solution is to avoid storing private messages on web-based platforms like iCloud for heightened security measures.

Governments Could Now Snoop On Your Skype Conversations

The lack of comprehensive privacy on older, big-name services has led to the development of the newer apps featured above with more features focused on security. Headlines about security breaches come out day after day in our digitally-connected world, so we are forced to become more cautious about the dangers of identity and data theft. In the online world, data privacy and security matters more than ever with the looming risks of being spied on or having your conversations shared without knowing about it. Therefore, choosing to use some of the most secure chat apps to communicate with friends, family, and coworkers protects you against any kind of malicious actor trying to steal your data.

Yes, there are people out there who can hack into your operating system and take over your microphone, using it to listen in on your conversations and record personal information. In fact, as German researchers proved, it gets a whole lot more sinister than that.

Whether it's someone listening in to your conversations to garner personal information, a hacker who's used advanced software to remotely listen in to a business' confidential Skype conversations, or someone who is using your microphone to collate data, it all just proves just how vulnerable you can be if you're are not careful.

The government isn't allowed to wiretap American citizens without a warrant from a judge. But there are plenty of legal ways for law enforcement, from the local sheriff to the FBI to the Internal Revenue Service, to snoop on the digital trails you create every day. Authorities can often obtain your emails and texts by going to Google or AT&T with a court order that doesn't require showing probable cause of a crime. These powers are entirely separate from the National Security Agency's collection of Americans' phone records en masse, which the House of Representatives voted to end last month.

Technically, YES. Since your messages are not end-to-end encrypted, that means that Facebook, law enforcement, hackers, over-reaching governments, or anyone who knew what they were doing could potentially read your messages.

Cyber-surveillance involves the use of connected to devices to monitor places or people. Connected technology could be used for your own convenience, but an abuser could misuse the same technology to maintain power and control over you.

However, cyber-surveillance also allows connected devices to play a role in how people and places are monitored. An abuser could use his/her computer (or other device that is connected to the Internet, such as a phone or tablet) to hack into your devices. Then, an abuser may misuse these devices and the systems that control them to monitor, harass, threaten, or harm you.

An abuser could misuse connected devices to monitor, harass, isolate and otherwise harm you. Connected devices and cyber-surveillance technology can track who is in your home and what they are doing. Devices that allow you to use cyber-surveillance are typically connected to the Internet or another data network, so an abuser could hack into these system (with a computer or other technology connected to the network) and control your devices or information. An abuser who uses your technology to track your actions may do so secretly, or more obviously as a way to control your behavior. An abuser may use cyber-surveillance technology to:

An abuser could also misuse technology that allows you to control your home in a way that causes you distress. The abuser could harass you by turning lights and appliances on or off in your home, adjusting the temperature to uncomfortable levels, playing unwanted music or adjusting the volume, triggering home invasion and smoke alarms, and locking or unlocking doors. Such behavior could make you feel uncomfortable, scared, out of control of your surroundings, or make you feel confused or unstable.

Additionally, an abuser could misuse technology that controls your home to isolate you from others by threatening visitors and blocking physical access. For example, an abuser could remotely control the smart locks on your home, limiting your ability to leave the house or to return to it. A video doorbell could be used not only to monitor who comes to the door, but to harass them remotely or, in combination with a smart lock, prevent them from entering the house. You can also see a short video on this topic.

Note: Without access to your passwords, gaining control over your connected devices may require a more advanced level of knowledge about technology than most people have. However, other information could be easier for a non-tech-savvy abuser to access. When devices are connected through a data network or the Internet, for example, an abuser may be able to log into (or hack into) that system to get information about how those devices were used, such as when you come and go from your home or where you drive your car.

Many of the laws that apply to electronic surveillance could apply to acts of cyber-surveillance as well, depending on how the abuser is using the connected devices to abuse you and the exact language of the laws in your state. For example, if the abuser is accessing devices on your network to listen in on your conversations, perhaps eavesdropping laws may apply. Additionally, an abuser who is watching you or recording you through your devices, may be violating invasion of privacy or voyeurism laws in your state.

There may be additional legal protections you can seek if a person shares a sexually explicit or intimate image of you. For example, depending on the laws in your state, you may be eligible for a restraining order or may have other options in civil court that could help you. You may want to speak with a lawyer in your state for legal advice about your specific situation.

An abuser may use technology to record your conversations and actions to maintain power and control over you. Recording laws deal with whether you or the abuser can legally record conversations or actions and whether those recordings can later be used in court.

In a relationship where there is domestic violence or stalking, an abuser may record your conversations or take video of your actions to get more information about your personal life and to keep you from having any privacy in order to keep power and control over you, learn about your schedule, and possibly use the information against you later to blackmail you depending on what is recorded. You can learn more about how an abuser could misuse recording technology and recorded information again you in our Electronic Surveillance page. Note: The content below will specifically cover recording your conversation or your image.

Other states require that all parties who are a part of the conversation give consent to a recording before recording a conversation is considered legal. These recording laws would apply regardless of which party is recording the conversation. In other words, if you are recording a conversation to gather evidence of threats or abuse, but your state requires that all parties in the conversation consent and the abuser has not consented to the recording, your actions could be illegal.

If the abuser is using spyware, s/he may be breaking the law in your state. Installing and using spyware could be illegal based on stalking or harassment laws, computer laws, wiretapping, or eavesdropping laws. You may want to speak with a lawyer in your state for legal advice. To read the specific language of the laws in your state, go to our Crimes page.

Some states have specific laws that address the recording of telephone, online, or in-person conversations. If someone who is not a part of your conversation records the conversation without your consent, it may be illegal even if you know that person is listening to you speak. Below, we give general definitions of various types of crimes. To read the specific language of the laws in your state, go to our Crimes page.

An abuser could commit a computer crime to gain access to your information and use that information to keep power and control over you. S/he may do this by accessing (breaking into) your computer or other technology device without your permission and copying or stealing your data, such as private identifying information, employment information, calendar details, etc. Depending on the information that the abuser steals or learns, s/he may use that information to stalk or harass you (showing up at the places where you have marked in your calendar) or by blackmailing you by threatening to share your private information. If the abuser steals nude or sexual images or videos, s/he may threaten to post or share these videos as a way to gain control over you. See our Abuse Involving Nude/Sexual Images page for more information.

Hacking is when someone intentionally gains access to your computer without your permission or accesses more data or information than what you allowed. An abuser could gain access to your computer if s/he knows your password, if s/he has the skills to break into your system, or by using software designed to gain entry into your technology. An abuser could also hack into your account without your knowledge, including through the use of spyware. Therefore, it is important to keep safe passwords and to only use technology devices that you believe to be safe and free of spyware or malware.


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