Can my employer "hear" my SKYPE phone calls

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

  1. Susan

    DevilsPGD Guest

    In message <> Susan
    No, what I'm saying is that whether or not the encryption is breakable,
    it wouldn't stop a bored IT person.
    DevilsPGD, Jul 21, 2006
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  2. Thus spaketh Christian 'CeeJay' Jensen:
    Trouble is the bible is just a book of fiction.
    {{{{{Welcome}}}}}, Jul 21, 2006
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  3. Susan

    Lee Babcock Guest

    Your traffic on your employers computers is as private as a message
    written on a post card and put in regular mail.
    Lee Babcock, Jul 21, 2006
  4. Susan

    Herne Guest

    Hash: SHA1

    On Thu, 20 Jul 2006 23:01:52 +0200, Christian 'CeeJay' Jensen

    This last paragraph sound very much like my previous employer. Their
    response was to put more pressure on their employees, demanding more and
    more be produced in less and less time. People were fired for even the
    most trivial breaches of the rules. To listen to company management,
    all they did was whine about how it was so hard to find people--during
    the time I was there, the wages actually dropped 15% for new-hires, so
    there was even more pressure to get those more experienced workers out
    so they could be replaced by lower-paid new-hires.

    This is the reality in much of corporate America today; companies will
    vie for government handouts, and will move to new locations when the
    handouts stop after a few years. They'll locate in relatively-depressed
    areas, with little work opportunities, knowing they've got a captive
    workforce. Most of the people I worked with were single-mothers; the
    employer knew they _needed_ their job to feed their kids, so they'd put
    up with just about anything to keep it, knowing full-well that there
    were almost no alternatives for them.

    The rates of absenteeism were very high; people were just stressed-out
    to the breaking point. Virtually everyone that I knew was on medication
    to help them cope with the stress.

    The sweatshops of the 19th and early-20th century featured sewing-machines;
    those of the 21st now feature computers.

    Herne <>

    Version: N/A

    -----END PGP SIGNATURE-----
    Herne, Jul 21, 2006
  5. Susan

    Susan Guest

    Oh my. Is this the summary.

    1. The employer can "see" SKYPE calls but not "hear" them.
    2. Unless they "tap" your sound card (is that hard or easy on a network?).
    3. The SKYPE encryption has been broken.
    4. It's safer to buy a cell phone and sim card.

    I didn't think about the cell phone idea.
    Are you saying I can get a phone with TWO sim cards. One for my normal use
    and one for my, shall we say, personal issues?

    If I switch from one sim card to the next, does that guarrantee me being
    anonymous? That is, if a certain someone at home were to flip through the
    cell phone with the "home" sim card in, would he be able to see the calls
    made from the "personal" sim card?

    I'm so confused but I do revere your advice,
    Susan, Jul 21, 2006
  6. Susan

    TwistyCreek Guest

    Yes you are.

    Kenny G.
    TwistyCreek, Jul 21, 2006
  7. Susan

    Tim Smith Guest

    Get a prepaid cell phone and use that.
    Tim Smith, Jul 21, 2006
  8. Susan

    Tim Smith Guest

    They don't need the key. They have this:

    "Tell us who these calls were to, and what they were about, or you
    are fired"

    That works as good as having the key.
    Tim Smith, Jul 21, 2006
  9. Susan

    Huss Guest

    Can he stand outside your office door?
    No. You've been given good advice WRT prepay mobile phones and I'd take
    that if I were you. It's not worth the risk. Maybe giving your husband
    the push would be a good start.

    (Rest snipped)

    They come together like the Coroner's Inquest, to sit upon the murdered
    reputations of the week.

    William Congreve
    Huss, Jul 21, 2006
  10. Susan

    Al Klein Guest

    It makes "easy" seem difficult. It's trivial for anyone who's taken
    an electronics course in high school. Network or not, it's done right
    on the computer. And it's easily done inside the computer, with a
    tiny component, so unless you know what you're looking for, and where
    it is, you'd never notice it.
    If you have a cell phone with a SIM card (Verizon, for one, uses
    technology that doesn't use SIM cards), go to a cell phone store - one
    where the employees know what they're doing - and ask them to show you
    how to swap SIM cards in your phone. You can get adapters to use 2
    cards in one phone, but they're not common in the US yet.
    Yes, if your phone keeps your calls list in the phone, not in the
    card. Some do one, some do the other, some can be set to do whichever
    you want. A second phone is easier and safer. Just leave it in your
    desk drawer at work.

    Wouldn't a divorce be a lot simpler?
    Al Klein, Jul 21, 2006
  11. Susan

    jeremy Guest

    Cell phone calls have records kept that the calls were made. It is true
    that if you have a second cell phone account, your spouse will not see the
    calls listed on your regular cell bill.

    BUT there is a hitch.

    If you were to be suspected of having an alternate cell phone account, the
    records could be subpoenaed and all of your past calling activity would be
    exposed. That is why I think you should seek a solution where there are no
    calling records kept.

    Depending upon how committed you are to doing this, there are a couple of
    workarounds that will cost you a couple of dollars:

    If you don't want to initiate your calls through your employer's Internet
    connection, you could buy a laptop and set yourself up with a data plan
    through a cell phone company. You could then use BitWise IM to carry your
    voice and text messages with your sweetie. Your spouse might know that you
    have a laptop, but the could not subpoena any calling records, because there
    aren't any.

    You could also communicate with each other via your home computer. Just run
    BitWise off of a disk, take it out when you are done, and there is no record
    of the application even existing on your computer. If your spouse were to
    find the disk and run the application, there would be no calling records.

    The key, in my opinion, is to leave no audit trail, and that is why I am
    reluctant to suggest an alternate cell phone account. Only if you can
    purchase a calling card without giving your name would this be an acceptable
    option. And, even then, you had better be certain that your spouse doesn't
    get hold of the card number, because those records could then be identified
    and ordered turned over by a court.

    There are also Long Distance calling cards that enable you to make a call
    from any phone and have it billed to the prepaid card. AT&T and MCI sell
    them at wholesale clubs--700 minutes for $15.00. You could call from any
    phone, and the call record would only indicate that a call was made to the
    calling card's 800 number. What you did from that point on would not be

    BUT if your spouse got your calling card number, a court could order your
    records turned over.

    Once you create a record of a call, it stays on some phone company database
    forever. You can't erase it. So I would think long and hard about doing
    anything that might one day be subject to disclosure. If you want no audit
    trail, the Instant Messenger offers an important margin of superiority over
    any type of cell phone or prepaid card. Your calling records cannot be
    disclosed, because they are never created in the first place.

    Sorry to make this sound so complicated.
    jeremy, Jul 21, 2006
  12. Susan

    Anonyma Guest

    Wow..... how about posting some pictures of ya self.
    Anonyma, Jul 21, 2006
  13. The employer can easily "see" them, and with some effort "hear" them.
    Unless you set the 'phone to do things. everything is stored _only_ on
    the SIM card. Of course, if you leave the 'phone laying around and
    someone is suspicious it is possible that they might change the settings
    on the 'phone, so it's probably better to do as one of the other posters
    suggested, buy a 'phone just for this and stash it at work, or somewhere
    else that is "secure".

    Gary B-)
    Gary R. Schmidt, Jul 21, 2006
  14. Susan

    Susan Guest

    Thanks everyone.
    I have one more question.

    If I use a cell phone with a pre-paid sim card that keeps the records in
    the sim card, then I would guess that the permanent records at the phone
    company would indicate exactly which phone used that card (probably by the
    serial number of the phone?).

    Assuming the permanent records tie the sim card to the telephone by
    telephone serial number, if we remove the first sim card and put a second
    sim card into that same telephone, wouldn't that second sim card also be
    recorded as having been used by that telephone serial number?

    My point is, wouldn't someone knowing the first telephone number from the
    first sim card then allow them to find the records of ALL phone calls made
    from all sim cards ever put in that phone since the phone has only one
    serial number?

    Isn't the telephone serial number a weak (identifiable) link that negates
    the "privacy" afforded by the second pre-paid sim card?

    Does this question make sense?
    Susan, Jul 21, 2006
  15. Susan

    jeremy Guest

    The cell phone provider is bound to know the ESN of the telephone that was
    used to make the call. Ordinarily this would not be a concern, but if your
    spouse were to learn that you had another SIM, and if he could get a court
    to demand that the cell provider turn over the call records that are
    connected with that SIM, it could all be tied in to you.

    If you are going to use a cell phone, I think you would do better to buy a
    completely separate phone and use a completely separate provider. You might
    also want to look into a prepaid walkie-talkie type of provider, because you
    can get unlimited walkie-talkie contacts and I do not believe that records
    of those communications are kept, because they are not "phone calls."

    A lot of my city's local drug dealers buy cell phone cards from "Boost,"
    which uses the Nextel network. They pay $30/month and can make
    walkie-talkie calls to one another all month long. If you were to use that,
    your friend would need one of those phones, too, and you'd each have to pay
    the monthly charge. I do not know if there is an extra charge to
    communicate outside your local area.

    Regardless of what cell phone you sign up with, you want to be sure that the
    bill won't be sent to you at home. By all means, look into some prepaid
    plan. Do not recharge your card by calling over the phone and having your
    checking or credit card account debited (that will leave a record that you
    possess another phone). Go somewhere that you can pay in cash. I think
    Wal-Mart has these plans available.

    But be warned: all of these schemes rely upon your keeping any record
    private that you have another phone. If your spouse finds out about it,
    everything might unravel. It takes only one slip-up to crack the thing wide

    If you can make calls from your office without getting into trouble,
    consider a prepaid card from AT&T or MCI. You dial their 800 number, enter
    your card number and the number you want to call, and your connection is
    made and charged against your card's remaining minutes. The card issuer
    doesn't know who you are and doesn't care, because the card is prepaid.

    Commit your card number and its access number to memory, or write it down in
    some coded form, and dump the card. Now there is no evidence that connects
    you with that card. What you keep in your own head remains private.

    Oh, and do not ever call the prepaid access number from your cell phone.
    Your spouse may ask why you make so many calls to the same toll-free number
    when he sees it displayed on your cell bill.
    jeremy, Jul 21, 2006
  16. Susan

    Fitz Guest

    I'm beginning to think this whole thing is a joke.
    Fitz, Jul 21, 2006
  17. And the Call Detail Records (all the digits you dialed in every phone
    call you made) from your phone at work are subject to discovery during
    the divorce proceedings. Your company is going to love that!
    William P.N. Smith, Jul 21, 2006
  18. Yes, but there are plenty of other weaker links generated by a second
    cell phone. If the sim is bought at a store there is going to be
    security camera footage of you buying that sim card. I supposed you
    could wear a burka, but that has its own set of problems...

    FYI, in the age of the CALEA and E911 "interlocking" laws, all cell
    phone calls can be tracked to within a small number of feet of where
    they were made. Is the position of the phone routinely recorded in
    the billing system? Who knows? If not now, it might be at some point
    as part of a fraud detection scheme. I wouldn't count on all that
    much anonymity.

    If you've ever used your home or office phone to make a call to the
    destination number or received a call from that destination number,
    there are already phone records that tie you to that other person. If
    a cell phone call were made from the same general area, to the same
    destination, someone looking at the records is going to wonder if both
    calls are somehow related.

    Unfortunately your quest boils down to the same one that some random
    terrorist has -- making untraceable calls. As such there is going to
    be lots of machinery in place to be able track all such calls and tie
    together the associations. Also, this is a really bad time to try any
    phone hanky-panky. Hezbolah has just announced that they are very
    pissed-off at the US. This would be a time where all the machinery
    would be in high gear trying desperately to spot any activation orders
    coming in.

    So I guess I'm saying, if all you want to do is keep calls off of your
    home phone bill a second cell phone with a prepaid sim should do the
    trick. If you want it fully untraceable I think you are out of luck.

    Wolfgang S. Rupprecht, Jul 21, 2006
  19. Oh, I dunno, it's kinda entertaining, in a 'watching a train wreck'
    sort of way. She can only hope her hubby has never heard of Usenet,
    and his lawyer won't have any idea how to use Google News. 8*|
    William P.N. Smith, Jul 21, 2006
  20. Susan

    Al Klein Guest

    The SIM card serial number is what ties things together. The account
    is linked to a particular SIM card, not to a particular telephone
    handset. If you know the SIM card number, and you have access to the
    records of the cell phone company, you can break a whole slew of
    federal laws and get information about calls made by that SIM. Or, if
    you're the government, you can get the information and not worry about
    the law.

    Knowing the serial number of the handset won't do anyone much good.
    Al Klein, Jul 21, 2006
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