TOM, Skype’s partner in China. has officially denied all such claims. However, a recent report issued by Nart Villeneuve at the University of Toronto says otherwise.

Dubbed The Breaching Trust (PDF), the study states that security is one feature that’s missing in China:

"The log files obtained during the course of the investigation reveal information such as the IP addresses, usernames (and landline phone numbers) used to place or receive TOM-Skype calls, as well as the full content of filtered messages and the time and date of each message.  The collected data affects all TOM-Skype users and also captures the personal information of any Skype users that interacted with registered TOM-Skype users.

The report adds that the Chinese monitoring system is quick to look for keywords such as “democracy”, “Taiwan independence” or “voice of America”.

Needless to say, the report is most disturbing for anyone using Skype to communicate with someone in China. As the report points out, the surveillance doesn’t target Chinese only, but also anyone contacting them. Not a very pleasing thought for businessmen or journalists, to name only two categories.

At this time Skype must be already planning a new approach for thee Chinese market.