Craig Timberg and Ellen Nakashima
i-Independent Print Ltd
Web phone service Skype has expanded its cooperation with police in the US to make online chats and user information available on request.
Skype, a video and audio phone service, has more than 600 million users worldwide. Political dissidents relied on it extensively during the Arab Spring to communicate with journalists, human rights workers and each other, in part because of its reputation for security. But the service has also been long favoured by criminals and others eager to communicate beyond the reach of the police.
The changes, which give authorities access to addresses and credit card numbers, have drawn hostility from many activists and analysts.
Police can get Skype data on request