Review date: 04/23/2020
Before video chat features came standard on cell phones, there was Skype. The former king of video calls has added features to keep up with the competition – most notably a feature called Meet Now. The new option allows users to quickly join a call just by opening a link on the web. In addition, Skype lets users blur their background for extra privacy, use real-time language translation and unlike some of the other apps on our list, call regular phone numbers. The video chat app is owned by Microsoft these days, which means Skype integrates with services like Microsoft Teams.
What could happen if something goes wrong
Skype has had some privacy concerns in the past, most recently when it came to light that Microsoft, which owns Skype, was allowing its contract workers in China to listen in to Skype calls with no security measures in place. It has since changed this practice, but it is a good reminder that even companies with decent security practices in place can handle your private data and conversations sloppily. Skype has also been around for a while and has been quite popular for a number of years. That's made it a prime target for malware and phishing attacks. Users are able to set up two-factor authentication on Skype, which we recommend doing to help keep that conversation you're having with Grandma from being invaded by some racist troll.
What is required to sign up?
Third party account
Users can sign in with their email or phone number. Skype also recently added a feature called Meet Now that allows anyone to create and share a Skype call without signing up for Skype via a Meet Now link they create on the Skype website.
What data does it collect?
How does it use this data?
How are your recordings handled?
Alerts when calls are being recorded?
When a call is recorded everyone on the call is notified.
Does the platform say it is compliant with US medical privacy laws?
The regular user version of Skype is not HIPAA compliant. Skype for Business can be HIPAA compliant if the right packages are purchased. Please check with your healthcare provider to make sure the version they use meets all the requirements.
Links to privacy information
Can I control it?
Is it easy to learn and use the features?
Skype is fairly simple to use and has an easy to navigate and understand support page to help users learn the features at https://support.skype.com/.
Does this product meet our Minimum Security Standards?
If you use Skype to call another Skype user, both audio and video of the call are encrypted. File transfers and instant messages are also encrypted. If you use Skype to call a regular phone number – landline or cell phone – that call is not encrypted. Skype does offer an end-to-end encryption option, but it is not on by default.
A strong password is required to login
Skype releases updates around once a month to address bug fixes and various issues
Microsoft has a bug bounty program for security vulnerabilities