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Skype says it respects your privacy while sharing link that says it uses third-party data

Skype on Windows 10
Skype on Windows 10 (Image credit: Windows Central)

What you need to know

  • The Skype Twitter account shared a post discussing how the service respects people's privacy.
  • The post highlights that Skype does not sell personal private data to third parties.
  • Microsoft does, however, use data obtained from third parties.

The Skype Twitter account recently tried to ride the wave of WhatsApp hate. WhatsApp came under fire after the service changed its privacy policies. With many people on the hunt for the best WhatsApp alternatives, Skype tried to draw in some more people. Unfortunately for the Skype team, they didn't get the response they were likely hoping for.

In addition to the expected internet trolling of people bashing Skype, discussing other services, and calling Skype a fossil, people also noticed something about Skype's tweet. ZDNet highlights that within the tweet, Skype included a link to its Microsoft privacy statement (opens in new tab) that clearly states that Skype uses data that is obtained from third parties.

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Under the section "How we use personal data,", Microsoft's privacy policy states (emphasis added):

Microsoft uses the data we collect to provide you with rich, interactive experiences. In particular, we use data to:

  • Provide our products, which includes updating, securing, and troubleshooting, as well as providing support. It also includes sharing data, when it is required to provide the service or carry out the transactions you request.
  • Improve and develop our products.
  • Personalize our products and make recommendations.
  • Advertise and market to you, which includes sending promotional communications, targeting advertising, and presenting you with relevant offers.
  • We also use the data to operate our business, which includes analyzing our performance, meeting our legal obligations, developing our workforce, and doing research.

In carrying out these purposes, we combine data we collect from different contexts (for example, from your use of two Microsoft products) or obtain from third parties to give you a more seamless, consistent, and personalized experience, to make informed business decisions, and for other legitimate purposes.

To their credit, Microsoft's Skype does not sell personal data to third parties, so Skype's tweet is accurate. The company uses the data it collects on its own to improve Microsoft services. The company does, however, use data collected from third parties, so it isn't completely clean of third-party data collection.

Sean Endicott
Sean Endicott

Sean Endicott is the news writer for Windows Central. If it runs Windows, is made by Microsoft, or has anything to do with either, he's on it. Sean's been with Windows Central since 2017 and is also our resident app expert. If you have a news tip or an app to review, hit him up at sean.endicott@futurenet.com.

13 Comments
  • Yea, forget all that...
    Skype for most people still leaves a bad taste in their mouth after they shutdown MSN/Windows Live Messenger services and forced a failed migration over to a broken Skype service. It's the reason why the majority of my Windows Messenger friends moved to Facebook.
    Privacy is one thing, but when you have other issues as well... nah, best thing Microsoft could do right now is bring back the Windows Live Messenger as a Skype client and try and re-launch the brand off the back of the Whatsapp issue, but even that might be still too little too late now.
  • I actually think Teams is a more natural successor to MSN Messenger than skype. Most of my friends use Facebook or Whatsapp, but there are a couple of more IT centric ones who have moved away from Slack onto teams, in fact its the same ex flatmates I used to talk to on MSN. I find it a great chat and call experience on Teams great. All the MSN Messenger elements are there they just need to brand it well. Unfortunately Microsoft do some great work which is constantly undercut by their inability to brand and market well
  • @Daniel Stevenson Suttton Yup, marketing was never Microsoft's strong suite. The 9 billion Skype acquisition made zero sense and it was a waste of money especially since Msn Messenger was a decent IM client and became a really good IM client through time after the rebrand to Windows Live Messenger; especially with the messenger plus plugin. Ontop of that WLM also provided the back end for Rooms on Windows Phone 8.x.
  • If other people are willingly providing data to third parties such as Google and Facebook, exactly why should I be upset about Microsoft using it to enhance my experience while at the same time respecting my privacy? Sounds like the best of both worlds to me. Update: Reading the ZDNet article, the exact statement from Microsoft's privacy policy is quoted as "We also obtain data about you from third parties" with the operative phrase being "about YOU", But the fact remains that other people AND YOU willingly use third party apps that collect your data. If you provide data to third parties, you consented for it to be sold. How is that Microsoft's fault?
  • Context is important. I feel like this is a reach. Maybe they should be clearer so headlines like this don't happen but I guess this is why there is a law in Maine prohibiting dropping a moose from a helicopter. Microsoft respects your privacy on the data Microsoft collect. I see no evidence of them doing otherwise and they can't control what others do.
  • I agree with you except for the spirit of the last half sentence. No, they can't control what others do, but participating in it encourages the very behavior they are clearly attempting to condemn. Additionally, I'd be willing to doubt that they are not obtaining that third-party data for free. They are buying it, which creates a financial incentive for companies to engage in the practice. I trust Microsoft with my data much more than most other large tech companies but helping to create/maintain the market for the selling of data to third parties, especially by a large company with deep pockets, lots of customers and wide reach, doesn't help improve the privacy situation that people find distasteful.
  • I agree with you and your incentives point but that practice will not be stopped in the foreseeable future whether Microsoft participates in the practice or not. At least you can trust malicious activity won't be done by them with the information they get
  • Eliminating the financial incentive to collect data for sale would require the elimination of marketing. Marketing to only your own customers doesn't grow businesses. As long as the company is upfront about what it does with the data it collects about me, I have the choice as to whether to do business with them or not. Not just talking MS here. Oh, and Skype is just fine. It suffers from the same universally understood truths that many MS products suffer from. Everyone says it's so, so it must be. If nothing else it is about as platform agnostic as it gets.
  • "Skype tweets accurately about how it handles customer data" Fixed the headline for you.
  • Platforms and Messenger-type apps.
     
    SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORMS
    Parler
    Facebook
    Gab
    MeWe MESSENGER-TYPE APPS
    Skype (owned by Microsoft)
    Apple Chat
    Telegram — used by Hong Kong protesters, mostly fully encrypted
    Signal — fully encrypted, recommended by Elon Musk a few days ago to his 42 million Twitter followers
    Messenger (owned by facebook) VIDEO SITES
    YouTube
    Rumble (apparently highly recommended by its users) SEARCH ENGINES
    Google
    DuckDuckGo — no tracking, excellent for most searches
    Bing (owned by Microsoft) WEB SERVER AND HOSTING PLATFORMS 
    Azure (owned by Microsoft)
    AWS — Amazon Web Services (huge vast computing power, was Parler hosting platform) OTHER
    Instagram (owned by facebook)
    Twitter (Jack Dorsey — lambasted recently while under oath IIIRC by Ted Cruz)
    There are Twitter alternatives WORST FOR SPYING ON YOU AND YOUR BROWSING AND EMAILING HABITS
    Google (especially anything Android, Chrome browser, Gmail and Google search)
    Facebook (everything)
    Microsoft (Windows 10) EMAIL PROVIDERS
    Gmail (widely used, paid for by Google selling your information)
    Proton Mail (fully encrypted, run somewhat by CERN scientists in Europe VIDEO SITES
    YouTube
    Rumble (apparently highly recommended by its users)
    BitChute WEB BROWSERS
    Chrome (totally amazing spyware capability)
    Edge (owned by Microsoft, lots of tracking of users)
    Firefox (independent, free from tracking(?), was receiving large amounts of $$$ from Google (ditto for Apple) for using default Google searching)
    Brave (true privacy browser) VPNs
    Lots are Chinese owned, thus their claimed privacy is dubious to say the least
    Brave browser is probably most secure and probably has most secure VPN.
  • Not sure what Apple Chat is. They do have a thing called iMessage.
  • Facebook (and anything they own, Google (and anything they own) are bad for you and I recommend weening your friends and family away from them. They don't care about you, just your data. YOU are the product. Protonmail is also no good, and they've come under fire previously for shady business practices. The Protonmail devs don't even use Protonmail, so why would I? Rumble is a great Youtube alternative. Gab is the best Twitter alternative. After recent events, Gab gained over 50 million new users. GabTV which is part of Gab is also poised to take a stab at Youtube. As for Firefox, I'd stay FAR away. Recently they've come out saying they will work with Google and Twitter to spy on its users by finding out what ads they place and the like. I had my doubts about Brave, but after using it now for two weeks (previous user of Opera) I really enjoy it. And when it comes to VPN, any VPN service under the "Five Eyes" is not worth its weight. Only VPN service I know which truly respect users privacy is Mullvad VPN. 6 bucks a month, no more no less. Can be paid with via cash, bitcoin and the more known ways of Paypal etc. As for Windows 10, there are plenty of ways from preventing it from tracking everything you do. (Google "stop windows 10 tracking". )
  • @DK19 You sorta under cut your message there by saying to Google how to "stop windows 10 tracking" lol. DuckDuckGo is a better alternative 😉.