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Skype accused of ratting out user to private security without warrant

VoIP P2P biz probes route its data took to Dutch fuzz

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Skype is investigating claims it handed over personal information on a teenager implicated in an attack on PayPal without asking to see a warrant.

PayPal contracted Dutch security firm iSIGHT Partners to get to the bottom of assaults launched last year against the web payment firm. The distributed denial-of-service attacks were organised by members of Anonymous who were upset at the suspension of the WikiLeaks PayPal account that left supporters of the whistle-blowing site unable to send in cash donations.

iSIGHT reportedly tracked down the individuals allegedly involved in the Operation Payback assaults, linking one suspect to a Skype username.

According to reports this week, Skype coughed up the real name, email address and home address of a 16-year-old lad to iSight after the security biz's investigator Joep Gommers supplied the username.

This personal information, pulled from Skype payment records, was passed onto Dutch cops, it is claimed. iSIGHT counted Skype as one of its clients at the time of the supposed information exchange.

Skype's alleged role in the affair potentially violates European privacy law as well as it own policies.

In a statement, the Microsoft-owned internet chat firm said it was looking into the matter and confirmed that - unless in exceptional circumstances - it wouldn't hand over a user's details without a warrant or court order:

We take customer privacy very seriously and are reviewing these claims. It is our policy not to provide customer data unless we are served with a valid request from legal authorities, or when legally required to do so, or in the event of a threat to physical safety.

The suspect in the case has not been named, and it's unclear if any criminal prosecution was initiated, much less its outcome. ®

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