How to set up ‘Private Conversations’ for Skype – New Feature by Microsoft and Signal

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Microsoft has just introduced private conversations, thus joining the rest of the communication family  like WhatsApp, Google, Facebook, and Signal itself that has integrated the open source Signal Protocol (end-to-end encryption) into their  platform. Although this is currently just available to Skype insiders for preview, it would be rolled out to the public very soon. What better way to prepare than having a setup right in your hands. Also, if you’re a skype insider member you’ve got full preview access.

Why Skype?

With over a billion mobile users on skype it’s not unusual for us to hear Microsoft Skype is going to be embracing end-to-end encryption for its application. By far it is one of the most widely used voice/video communication tool before it’s other counterparts like Facetime, Whats App, Google duo, Facebook, Snapchat, etc. Users enjoy anything that makes them feel more secure without fear for their lives or data.

Why Signal?

Think encrypted messages that has that whatsapp feeling and two names come to mind, Signal and Telegram. Signal is a free messenger from Open Whisper Systems that provides a fast transmission of data while giving you simplicity and privacy. With Signal, messages and calls are always end-to-end encrypted and painstakingly engineered to keep all communications safe.

End-to-End Encryption?

Just In case you’re just getting to hear about E2E encryption, this is basically what it means. With end-to-end encryption, your calls, messages, photos, videos, voice messages, documents, are secured from falling into the wrong hands. End-to-End encryption ensures only you and the person you’re communicating with can read what is sent, and nobody in between, not even those who own the application.

In a recent post from Signal, the company announced its partnership with Microsoft to provide all skype users with end-to-end encryption. Here’s an excerpt from the post made last week Thursday.

“In collaboration with Signal, Microsoft is introducing a Private Conversations feature in Skype, powered by Signal Protocol.
At Signal, our goal is to make private communication simple and ubiquitous. With hundreds of millions of active users, Skype is one of the most popular applications in the world, and we’re excited that Private Conversations in Skype will allow more users to take advantage of Signal Protocol’s strong encryption properties for secure communication”.

I Love how these companies don’t even stress themselves to give their new features a really cool name, they just go ‘Private Conversations’. Sounds familiar right? Yes. In 2016 Facebook also enabled a feature called ‘Secret Conversations’, which is more or less a self-destructing feature for your messages.

Features unique to Private Conversations

  • A Private Conversation will have a lock icon next to your contact’s name.
  • Preview messages from Private Conversations will not show in Chats or notifications.
  • Private Conversation capabilities are limited. You cannot edit a message or forward a file. From the chat window, only emoticons, files and audio messages are available to send.
  • Private Conversations are specific to a device. A new invitation must be sent and accepted, to change to another device.

How do I set up Private Conversations on Skype?

  1. Open your Skype app
  2. Tap or click the + icon.
  3. Select New Private Conversation.
  4. Select the contact you’d like to start the Private Conversation with. You will be taken to a new chat with them.
  5. An invitation will be sent to your contact asking to accept your invitation. This invitation is valid for 7 days. If they do not accept before then, the invite will expire, and you will need to send another one.

    How to set up ‘Private Conversations’ for Skype – New Feature by Microsoft and Signal

  6. Once the contact has accepted, your Private Conversation will be available on that specific device. If you’d like to move the conversation to a different device, you would need to resend the invitation to your contact.

How do i Delete a Private Conversation

This works the same as a regular chat. Either right click or tap and hold on the conversation and select Delete chat. To recover the Private Conversation after you’ve deleted it, start a Private Conversation with that contact again and you’ll be able to pick up where you left off.

How do i End a Private Conversation

To end a Private Conversation, go to the chat header, scroll down and select End Private Conversation. You will receive a confirmation window to end the conversation. Select End Conversation. If you want to start another Private Conversation with this person, you will need to send a new invitation.

Disclaimer: Unfortunately, The Private Conversations are only available in preview for Skype Insiders only. Learn more about becoming a Skype Insider.

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