Can my employer "hear" my SKYPE phone calls

Discussion in 'VOIP' started by Susan, Jul 20, 2006.

  1. Susan

    Susan Guest

    Can my employer "hear" my SKYPE phone calls?
    Can SKYPE be my answer to the privacy I desperately need?

    I have a, shall we just say, long-distance relationship, with a certain
    someone in the company who is far away. Due to time-zone and family
    matters, I can ONLY call this certain someone during the day. My phone
    bills are monitored by a certain domestic someone at home. And, of course,
    at work, I couldn't use the telephone as it's not business related.

    What about SKYPE?
    Can SKYPE be my answer to privacy?

    I already plugged in a microphone and headphone and I noticed SKYPE calls
    to my friend show up as a phone number of 000012345 so I can converse with
    my friend.

    But my question is what can my employer "tell" about that connection?
    Can they "hear" my SKYPE phone calls if they wanted to?
    Do employers typically "listen" to this type of activity?

    Please advise me as this is a personal matter all mixed up with work and
    the need to remain private.

    Thank you very much for your advice
    Susan
    Susan, Jul 20, 2006
    #1
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  2. Susan

    Ivor Jones Guest

    "Susan" <> wrote in message
    news:6ht7omr4mzik.1uvihp4emtutz$

    [snip]

    > Can they "hear" my SKYPE phone calls if they wanted to?
    > Do employers typically "listen" to this type of activity?


    No, but if you are using work equipment for personal use then they would
    have every right to do so.

    > Please advise me as this is a personal matter all mixed
    > up with work and the need to remain private.


    Then don't use work equipment.

    Ivor
    Ivor Jones, Jul 20, 2006
    #2
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  3. Susan

    Herne Guest

    -----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE-----
    Hash: SHA1

    On Thu, 20 Jul 2006 06:31:55 +0000, Susan <> wrote in
    Message-ID: <6ht7omr4mzik.1uvihp4emtutz$>

    > Can my employer "hear" my SKYPE phone calls? Can SKYPE be my answer to the
    > privacy I desperately need?
    >
    > I have a, shall we just say, long-distance relationship, with a certain
    > someone in the company who is far away. Due to time-zone and family
    > matters, I can ONLY call this certain someone during the day. My phone
    > bills are monitored by a certain domestic someone at home. And, of course,
    > at work, I couldn't use the telephone as it's not business related.
    >
    > What about SKYPE?
    > Can SKYPE be my answer to privacy?


    Maybe, it depends. As far as your employer being able to 'hear' the
    call-contents, the answer in short is "No." Skype calls are end-to-end
    encrypted.

    However, this does NOT mean that the calls are undetectable. Skype network
    packets can be distinguished from other network traffic if you know what
    to look for; they can also be blocked at the company firewall.

    > I already plugged in a microphone and headphone and I noticed SKYPE calls
    > to my friend show up as a phone number of 000012345 so I can converse with
    > my friend.
    >
    > But my question is what can my employer "tell" about that connection? Can
    > they "hear" my SKYPE phone calls if they wanted to? Do employers typically
    > "listen" to this type of activity?


    Only incompetent and/or lazy sysadmins aren't aware of what happens on their
    networks; Skype has been getting a lot of press, and sysadmins are beginning
    to take notice. Don't count on your activity going undetected. While they
    can't hear the voice content of your calls, they will be able to tell that
    you're making some, if your network administrator is at all on the ball.

    Are you willing to put your job at risk? Remember--the employer owns the
    hardware, the software and pays for the bandwidth. Unauthorized use of
    company equipment can be grounds for termination. Even installing
    unauthorized software--i.e. Skype--can be grounds enough to get you
    turfed out, depending on how anal your employer wishes to be. (In most
    places I've worked, you'd be fired on the spot for installing something
    on their computers without authorization.)

    > Please advise me as this is a personal matter all mixed up with work and
    > the need to remain private.


    If you're worried about the phone bills, then go down to the 7/11 and get
    yourself a pay-as-you-go cellphone. The newer ones are small and easy-to-hide,
    and because they're pay as you go, you don't have any bills to worry about.

    Lock the phone in your office drawer if you don't want to risk bringing
    it home. Skype right now is free in North America, but only until the end
    of this year. If you get a cellphone, you can use it and no one can accuse
    you of mis-appropriating your employer's property. The worst they can do
    is give you a hard time if you're calling your friend on company time--so
    do it on your breaks, lunch hour, and after work. Is saving a few bucks
    on phone calls worth risking your employment?

    > Thank you very much for your advice
    > Susan


    Herne <-rhei.eu.org>

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    Herne, Jul 20, 2006
    #3
  4. > But my question is what can my employer "tell" about that connection?
    > Can they "hear" my SKYPE phone calls if they wanted to?
    > Do employers typically "listen" to this type of activity?


    Your employer might be able to tell that you are using Skype.
    They can also tell from the network traffic which IP number you are talking
    with and if that IP number is in the same company , then a little detective
    work will find out who you were talking with.
    They can also tell for how long you were talking.

    However they cannot listen in on the conversation as Skype calls are all
    encrypted.

    I don't know of employers that invade privacy like this, but I'm in a country
    that has laws against this sort of thing.
    I would suspect that this kind of goes on in the big american or multinational
    companies as many of them have a tendency to think of the employers as
    workslaves that can't be trusted and should be guarded against (a BAD way to
    manage btw), instead of valued and trusted employees.
    It's a corporation mentality thing .. you work there .. what do you think they
    do ?
    Christian 'CeeJay' Jensen, Jul 20, 2006
    #4
  5. Ivor Jones wrote:
    > "Susan" <> wrote in message
    > news:6ht7omr4mzik.1uvihp4emtutz$
    >
    > [snip]
    >
    >> Can they "hear" my SKYPE phone calls if they wanted to?
    >> Do employers typically "listen" to this type of activity?

    >
    > No, but if you are using work equipment for personal use then they would
    > have every right to do so.
    >
    >> Please advise me as this is a personal matter all mixed
    >> up with work and the need to remain private.

    >
    > Then don't use work equipment.
    >
    > Ivor


    Wow Ivor - that's some attitude .. What sort of police state do you live in ?
    Christian 'CeeJay' Jensen, Jul 20, 2006
    #5
  6. "Christian 'CeeJay' Jensen" <> wrote in message
    news:44bf5e4e$0$84017$...
    > I don't know of employers that invade privacy like this, but I'm in a

    country
    > that has laws against this sort of thing.
    > I would suspect that this kind of goes on in the big american or

    multinational
    > companies as many of them have a tendency to think of the employers as
    > workslaves that can't be trusted and should be guarded against (a BAD way

    to
    > manage btw), instead of valued and trusted employees.
    > It's a corporation mentality thing .. you work there .. what do you think

    they
    > do ?


    Laws not withstanding employers have the right to take steps to prevent
    theft. Theft of bandwidth is no different than theft of paperclips. If
    this is a real concern, I would suggest the OP go to a coffee shop w/ Wifi
    during lunch.
    Jonathan Roberts, Jul 20, 2006
    #6
  7. Susan

    Ivor Jones Guest

    "Christian 'CeeJay' Jensen" <>
    wrote in message
    news:44bf61c0$0$84018$
    > Ivor Jones wrote:
    > > "Susan" <> wrote in message
    > > news:6ht7omr4mzik.1uvihp4emtutz$
    > >
    > > [snip]
    > >
    > > > Can they "hear" my SKYPE phone calls if they wanted
    > > > to? Do employers typically "listen" to this type of
    > > > activity?

    > >
    > > No, but if you are using work equipment for personal
    > > use then they would have every right to do so.
    > >
    > > > Please advise me as this is a personal matter all
    > > > mixed up with work and the need to remain private.

    > >
    > > Then don't use work equipment.
    > >
    > > Ivor

    >
    > Wow Ivor - that's some attitude .. What sort of police
    > state do you live in ?


    One where using company equipment for personal use is not generally
    accepted. Would you like it if I came round to your place and used your
    system for my own use without asking..?

    If a company provides you with computer equipment they do so in order that
    you can do your job, not so you can waste company time on the net.

    A company is perfectly within its legal rights to monitor employees' use
    of company equipment. Ask a lawyer if you don't believe me.


    Ivor
    Ivor Jones, Jul 20, 2006
    #7
  8. Susan

    Ivor Jones Guest

    "Christian 'CeeJay' Jensen" <>
    wrote in message
    news:44bf5e4e$0$84017$

    [snip]

    > I don't know of employers that invade privacy like this,
    > but I'm in a country that has laws against this sort of
    > thing.


    I don't know what country you are in, but here (UK) an employer has every
    right to monitor the activities of its' employees, including email and
    other communications.

    Ivor
    Ivor Jones, Jul 20, 2006
    #8
  9. > Laws not withstanding employers have the right to take steps to prevent
    > theft. Theft of bandwidth is no different than theft of paperclips. If
    > this is a real concern, I would suggest the OP go to a coffee shop w/ Wifi
    > during lunch.


    Considering that almost all broadband connection cost a fixed amount each
    month, more bandwidth use doesn't not equal more money spent.

    And since there is no loss of money there can be no theft.
    Christian 'CeeJay' Jensen, Jul 20, 2006
    #9
  10. Thus spaketh Ivor Jones:
    > "Christian 'CeeJay' Jensen" <>
    > wrote in message
    > news:44bf5e4e$0$84017$
    >
    > [snip]
    >
    >> I don't know of employers that invade privacy like this,
    >> but I'm in a country that has laws against this sort of
    >> thing.

    >
    > I don't know what country you are in, but here (UK) an employer has
    > every right to monitor the activities of its' employees, including
    > email and other communications.
    >
    > Ivor


    Seems like she wants to play away too, not nice at all.
    {{{{{Welcome}}}}}, Jul 20, 2006
    #10
  11. Ivor Jones wrote:
    > "Christian 'CeeJay' Jensen" <>
    > wrote in message
    > news:44bf61c0$0$84018$
    >> Ivor Jones wrote:
    >>> "Susan" <> wrote in message
    >>> news:6ht7omr4mzik.1uvihp4emtutz$
    >>>
    >>> [snip]
    >>>
    >>>> Can they "hear" my SKYPE phone calls if they wanted
    >>>> to? Do employers typically "listen" to this type of
    >>>> activity?
    >>> No, but if you are using work equipment for personal
    >>> use then they would have every right to do so.
    >>>
    >>>> Please advise me as this is a personal matter all
    >>>> mixed up with work and the need to remain private.
    >>> Then don't use work equipment.
    >>>
    >>> Ivor

    >> Wow Ivor - that's some attitude .. What sort of police
    >> state do you live in ?

    >
    > One where using company equipment for personal use is not generally
    > accepted. Would you like it if I came round to your place and used your
    > system for my own use without asking..?


    That not an apples to apples comparison.
    Come up with a better analogy if you want to use this kind of reasoning.

    > If a company provides you with computer equipment they do so in order that
    > you can do your job, not so you can waste company time on the net.


    I'd like to offer you a different point of view :

    Treat your employees right and they will in turn treat you right.
    ... I think the bible was first on that one though .. "Do unto others as you
    would have them do unto you"

    Creating a workenvironment where workers feel constantly watched and measured
    , untrusted and uncared for , leads to unhappy workers.
    Unhappy workers leads to decreased productivity , decreased service and more
    sickdays .. and THAT costs money.
    Christian 'CeeJay' Jensen, Jul 20, 2006
    #11
  12. Susan

    Rick Merrill Guest

    Christian 'CeeJay' Jensen wrote:

    >>Laws not withstanding employers have the right to take steps to prevent
    >>theft. Theft of bandwidth is no different than theft of paperclips. If
    >>this is a real concern, I would suggest the OP go to a coffee shop w/ Wifi
    >>during lunch.

    >
    >
    > Considering that almost all broadband connection cost a fixed amount each
    > month, more bandwidth use doesn't not equal more money spent.
    >
    > And since there is no loss of money there can be no theft.


    No, it's called 'theft of service.'
    Rick Merrill, Jul 20, 2006
    #12
  13. Susan

    Susan Guest


    >>Explain please. Skype calls are supposed to be encrypted, so how would your
    >>"Yes" make sense if this is the case? Decryption would take place on the
    >>system the program is running...

    >
    > If I were an IT admin and noticed unexplained traffic, I might be
    > tempted to monitor the traffic.
    >
    > If it is, in fact, encrypted (I believe Skype is, but I'm not a user so
    > I don't know or care), I'd simply monitor the PC itself.
    >
    > If it looked like VoIP traffic, installing something to monitor the
    > microphone and speakers and check the times when I saw the unexplained
    > traffic would quickly identify whether it's VoIP or not.


    Oh good. I think you are saying my SKYPE calls are protected because they
    use some kind of security between the two SKYPE programs.

    Does that mean that even if my employer saved all the VOIP communication
    between the two of us, that they would not have the "security key" to
    actually listen to the words we spoke?

    Is that what you are saying?
    Susan
    Susan, Jul 20, 2006
    #13
  14. Susan

    Craig Guest

    Susan;

    Fwiw, Skype has an extensive security page complete with a section for
    network admins. The text is pretty clear and concise.

    http://www.skype.com/security/

    hth,
    -Craig
    Craig, Jul 20, 2006
    #14
  15. Susan

    Guest

    Susan wrote:
    <snip>
    >
    > I have a, shall we just say, long-distance relationship, with a certain
    > someone in the company who is far away. Due to time-zone and family
    > matters, I can ONLY call this certain someone during the day. My phone
    > bills are monitored by a certain domestic someone at home. And, of course,
    > at work, I couldn't use the telephone as it's not business related.
    >

    <snip>
    >
    > Please advise me as this is a personal matter all mixed up with work and
    > the need to remain private.
    >
    > Thank you very much for your advice
    > Susan


    If you're going to talk about hiding an affair while at work don't use
    the same email address you use to post a job bulletin with.

    Two click in Google Groups yields a lot of information and someone
    could decide to impose their moral code on you and give Livingston
    Enterprises a call.

    Years ago I had two co-workers caught doing something just like this.
    The IT people said it was "nothing big" to monitor their machines once
    they noticed a lot of traffic.

    Do what the terrorists do. Go to Target and buy a prepaid cell phone
    with cash.
    , Jul 21, 2006
    #15
  16. Susan wrote:

    >>>Explain please. Skype calls are supposed to be encrypted, so how would your
    >>>"Yes" make sense if this is the case? Decryption would take place on the
    >>>system the program is running...

    >>
    >>If I were an IT admin and noticed unexplained traffic, I might be
    >>tempted to monitor the traffic.
    >>
    >>If it is, in fact, encrypted (I believe Skype is, but I'm not a user so
    >>I don't know or care), I'd simply monitor the PC itself.
    >>
    >>If it looked like VoIP traffic, installing something to monitor the
    >>microphone and speakers and check the times when I saw the unexplained
    >>traffic would quickly identify whether it's VoIP or not.

    >
    >
    > Oh good. I think you are saying my SKYPE calls are protected because they
    > use some kind of security between the two SKYPE programs.
    >
    > Does that mean that even if my employer saved all the VOIP communication
    > between the two of us, that they would not have the "security key" to
    > actually listen to the words we spoke?
    >
    > Is that what you are saying?


    He may well be saying that, but a mob in China, IIRC, recently broke the
    Skype encryption, so it's not secure anymore.

    Also, as a BOFH and PABX tech, I have been required to track usage of
    both the 'net and the 'phone. The 'net is just like the 'phone, at
    work, you often get to use it for a limited amount of personal stuff,
    but not freely. If a user starts chewing up "too much" bandwidth/making
    "too many" or "too long" calls, I would know about it, and so would that
    staffers manager.

    You'd be better off paying cash (untraceable) for a pre-paid mobile SIM
    card (untraceable), and stashing that in your desk, changing it over in
    your mobile when you wanted a chat.

    Cheers,
    Gary B-)

    --
    ______________________________________________________________________________
    Armful of chairs: Something some people would not know
    whether you were up them with or not
    - Barry Humphries
    Gary R. Schmidt, Jul 21, 2006
    #16
  17. Susan

    Al Klein Guest

    On Thu, 20 Jul 2006 22:32:29 GMT, Susan <> wrote:

    >Oh good. I think you are saying my SKYPE calls are protected because they
    >use some kind of security between the two SKYPE programs.


    >Does that mean that even if my employer saved all the VOIP communication
    >between the two of us, that they would not have the "security key" to
    >actually listen to the words we spoke?


    Only if all they did was monitor the internet packets going to and
    from your computer. If they recorded the audio going in and out of
    your sound card (a trivial thing) they'd have completely
    understandable recordings of your calls.
    --
    http://www.webdingers.com/filelist.html
    Al Klein, Jul 21, 2006
    #17
  18. Susan

    TwistyCreek Guest

    If your employer is the nsa, yes, they can hear everything.

    If your " long distance friend " is hezbollah, yes, the nsa can hear
    everything.

    If you have any association whatever with radical liberal groups, yes,
    the nsa, homeland, interpol, cia, everybody can hear everything.

    Any questions?

    Kenny G.
    ---

    In news:6ht7omr4mzik.1uvihp4emtutz$,
    Susan <> had this to say:
    >Can my employer "hear" my SKYPE phone calls?
    >Can SKYPE be my answer to the privacy I desperately need?
    >
    >I have a, shall we just say, long-distance relationship, with a certain
    >someone in the company who is far away. Due to time-zone and family
    >matters, I can ONLY call this certain someone during the day. My phone
    >bills are monitored by a certain domestic someone at home. And, of course,
    >at work, I couldn't use the telephone as it's not business related.
    >
    >What about SKYPE?
    >Can SKYPE be my answer to privacy?
    >
    >I already plugged in a microphone and headphone and I noticed SKYPE calls
    >to my friend show up as a phone number of 000012345 so I can converse with
    >my friend.
    >
    >But my question is what can my employer "tell" about that connection?
    >Can they "hear" my SKYPE phone calls if they wanted to?
    >Do employers typically "listen" to this type of activity?
    >
    >Please advise me as this is a personal matter all mixed up with work and
    >the need to remain private.
    >
    >Thank you very much for your advice
    >Susan
    >
    >
    TwistyCreek, Jul 21, 2006
    #18
  19. "Christian 'CeeJay' Jensen" <> wrote in message
    news:44bfe910$0$84034$...
    > > Laws not withstanding employers have the right to take steps to prevent
    > > theft. Theft of bandwidth is no different than theft of paperclips. If
    > > this is a real concern, I would suggest the OP go to a coffee shop w/

    Wifi
    > > during lunch.

    >
    > Considering that almost all broadband connection cost a fixed amount each
    > month, more bandwidth use doesn't not equal more money spent.
    >
    > And since there is no loss of money there can be no theft.


    Point taken. She did say she was an employee, not a volunteer however; so
    we're back to theft -- of time and wages.
    Jonathan Roberts, Jul 21, 2006
    #19
  20. <> wrote in message
    news:...
    >
    > Do what the terrorists do. Go to Target and buy a prepaid cell phone
    > with cash.
    >


    LOL, this could be the funniest thing I have seen in a while. Sad but
    true...
    Jonathan Roberts, Jul 21, 2006
    #20
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