Industry News

Goodbye privacy? Cortana reads Skype chats, interjects in conversations

Microsoft’s “intelligent virtual and personal assistant” for Windows 10 has now been added as a Skype contact for iOS and Android, for the ultimate AI experience.

“Looking for information often requires interrupting the conversation, even if briefly, and switching apps to find what we’re looking for and bring it back into the conversation. But shouldn’t technology make our lives easier and truly bring the answers we need to our fingertips?” writes the Skype team.

Cortana scans conversations for answers, sets reminders, replies with clever lines, looks for restaurants and movie reviews, and more. Users can type questions and, without switching applications, receive answers directly through Cortana. However, Cortana will also intervene in conversations to offer suggestions. If the suggestions are unhelpful, users can submit feedback to Microsoft.

The feature is enabled for text conversations, and not for audio or video calls, but users can still talk to the personal assistant through the microphone.

For a more tailored experience, users are encouraged to allow it to collect all the information it needs. For now, the feature runs only in the US, but the plan is to gradually integrate other countries.

On the downside, once Cortana has been added to Skype, it can’t be deleted from the contact list. However it does need user consent to access location and chat messages and can be disabled if its features are not wanted.

This is something to consider, as, in order to provide answers and suggestions, Cortana will require full access to monitor all private conversations. For most users, privacy is a serious concern, so enabling Cortana for Skype might not be the best of choices, especially if Skype is used for business purposes and confidential discussions. On the other hand, even if Cortana is disabled, Microsoft still collects Skype data and conversations, as Skype does not have end-to-end encryption.

About the author


From a young age, Luana knew she wanted to become a writer. After having addressed topics such as NFC, startups, and tech innovation, she has now shifted focus to internet security, with a keen interest in smart homes and IoT threats. Luana is a supporter of women in tech and has a passion for entrepreneurship, technology, and startup culture.