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Some of the thousands of terms included on the lists Knockel has compiled, which he updates daily, are predictably political.Translations show they include “student demonstrations,” “oil protest,” “Tiananmen slaughter,” “Amnesty International,” and “Reporters Without Borders.” But there are also a large number that are sex- and pornography-related—like “sex chat,” “live nude chat service,” and “kinky cinema.” Some cover violence, such as “Molotov cocktails” and “hired killer.” And it doesn’t end there.The software scans for references to drugs like ecstasy, methamphetamine, and ketamine—while bizarre terms that translate into English as “ancient horse recipe” and “throwing eggs" could also land users on a watch list.
The company issued a statement to saying that its mission “is to break down barriers to communications and enable conversations worldwide.
Skype is committed to continued improvement of end user transparency wherever our software is used.” With a nearly 96 million users in China, Tom-Skype certainly enables conversations.
There is one thing that binds the phrases “kinky cinema,” “hired killer,” and “throwing eggs.” If you type any one of them into a special eavesdropping-enabled version of Skype used in China, you could find yourself under surveillance.
reported today, Knockel recently found a way to bypass encryption used by a version of Skype designed specifically for Chinese users, and in doing so uncovered secret keyword lists used in China to monitor Skype users’ communications.
According to the 27-year-old researcher, the software has a built-in surveillance blacklist that scans messages sent between users for specific words and phrases.