Skype has announced something that some users have wanted for a long time: end-to-end encryption for conversations. Skype Insiders can preview the new encryption feature right now, and it's called Private Conversations. With these conversations, end-to-end encryption for audio calls, text messages, images, audio files, and videos are now supported.
Private Conversations uses industry standard Signal Protocol by Open Whisper Systems. When you participate in one of the private sessions, that chat is hidden in notifications to keep what you share private.
Microsoft's Ellen Kilbourne wrote, "Give it a try by selecting "New Private Conversation" from the compose menu or from the recipient’s profile. After the recipient accepts your invite, all calls and messages in that conversation will be encrypted end-to-end until you choose to end it. You can only participate in a private conversation from a single device at a time. You can switch the conversation to any of your devices, but the messages you send and receive will be tied to the device you’re using at the time."
While the new feature is in preview mode, users can only start private conversations with other Skype insiders that are also running the latest version of Skype. Another caveat for the service right now is that private conversations only support one-to-one chats. Kilbourne wrote, "Up next, we’d like to improve the UX around the invite to join a private conversation and bring the experience to the UWP client."
Skype is asking Skype Insiders who try the feature to offer feedback on how it works before private conversations are enabled for all users. Skype Insiders wanting to try out Private Conversations can download Skype version 18.104.22.168 for iOS, Android, Linux, Mac, and Windows Desktop.