Non-open source Skype on Mint

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Linux Mint package manager has Microsoft Skype. These are my 3 questions:

1) This is NOT open source correct?

2) If I download and install this, does the Microsoft spying/privacy breach stay contained to only within Skype? Like is it sandboxed?

3) Let's say you answer number 2 with yes that it is sandboxed. Microsoft can still see my VPN's ip to know if some other simultaneous traffic is me also? Like if you use google docs with skype open
 


gvisoc

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Hi.

Here are some answers:

  1. Nope. I mean: correct, it is not open source.
  2. It depends. If the package is a .deb, it's not sandboxed; if it's an .appimage, a .snap or a .flatpack, it would be. Nonetheless, Microsoft's telemetry is bound by its privacy policy that you should read, and 100% the permissions that Skype would ask the packaging system of choice, sandboxed or not, would suffice for their objectives.
  3. Everybody can see your VPN IP address and associate to many other activity and browsing data, but it works in a way different than you suspect. Skype won't plant a packet filter in your network interface to snoop all the traffic, it would be a stupidly high amount of information of no value for Microsoft.

Examples:
  • Your VPN provider may maintain a log of your activity. Check their log an privacy policy
  • Your DNS provider may maintian a log of the sites you visit. Check them as well.
  • Your browser has an API that allow anyone to extract an almost-unique fingerprint that would identify you even if you changed your VPN IP address every few minutes.
  • Aside from the above, if you browse with third party cookies enabled, chances are that Facebook and Google have a pretty accurate representation of your behaviour even if you don't have an account with them. They don't even care about your name, it's not needed for their business. VPN IP? Doesn't matter.
Another thing that I am quite surprised of is you worrying of Microsoft peeking on your Google Docs usage, and not the other way around --Google peeking on your anything-else usage.

Why? Because Google is an advertising company since 1998, and Microsoft not yet. Microsoft may be interested in the way you use their products to sell you more of its products; Google is interested in everything you do to sell advertisements to anyone with money.
 
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That was a great answer. Thanks so much.
I do use a browser with third party cookies off and fingerprinting on strict.

So if I install skype via the GUI synaptic package manager, then it's a .deb right? And therefore less secure?

So I am better off with a snap like this in terminal:

sudo snap install skype

?
 

gvisoc

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First of all, installing a proprietary program with .deb is not less secure. If you use an official repository and you don't mess with the signature checking, you'll be fine. A different thing would be downloading packages from dodgy sources, but I am assuming that is not the case. As discussed before, privacy-wise, you are not going to have a net benefit from chosing snap over .deb.

Nonetheless, installing snaps can avoid you some conflicts, and has its own point, and seems to make you more confortable --fair enough.

Not sure about Synaptics, but some graphical package managers will tell you the kind of package and repository for each.

Check the following image from the GUI package manager from Fedora:

Screenshot from 2022-01-02 20-49-14.png


In the image, .rpm is equivalent to .deb for the sake of this discussion. As you can see, there is a drop-down list at the upper-right corner that not only privides you with the information, but also allow you to pick. Check your distribution to see if you have something similar.

Also you can install the snap store, or use the snap command as you suggested. Check this if you haven't installed any snap before.
 

kc1di

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Anytime you use 3rd party (Skype or other) communications tools you run the risk of having your private info mined for the benefit of the Company supplying the tool. See here about skype. It makes little difference if it's installed via .deb or snap,flatpack or Appimage the problem isn't in the local install method but in the company servers that you must go through to use the app. As far as an installed app gaining access to your Local Linux system it can only access those parts you give it permission to access. Your in control of that part.
 
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Thanks for the replies guys. When I install it, I will give it permission access to the microphone. How do I know that it won't secretly against my will just start recording even if the skype program is closed?

I am not concerned with data mining within the skype program itself because I'm aware of it.
 

kc1di

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Thanks for the replies guys. When I install it, I will give it permission access to the microphone. How do I know that it won't secretly against my will just start recording even if the skype program is closed?

I am not concerned with data mining within the skype program itself because I'm aware of it.
If you are not using your mic for any other program you can always turn it off in settings when not in use.
 
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Condobloke

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Why not use blink?
Their privacy policy

Privacy

Blink does not collect, nor share any data.
Contacts accessed by Blink are not uploaded to any servers.
Google Contacts appear as a virtual group in Blink UI and is used for initiating outgoing calls. The user can right click on a contact to initiate calls to the telephone numbers or email addresses belonging to each contact. No data is being stored or copied anywhere.
Source code:
https://github.com/AGProjects/blink-qt/blob/master/blink/contacts.py
© 2021 AG Projects — Real Time Communications Experts

Download Page: https://docs-new.sipthor.net/w/debian_package_repositories/

Or, better still, Jitsi : https://jitsi.org/
(Also listed in Linux Mint So0ftware Manager)

or...

Pidgin. Also available on Linux Mint Software Manager
Has loads of plugins,
Probably the most favoured of all of them.
 
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I wish I could use open source only. My job requires skype group chats, zoom meetings, and editing google docs
 
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