Sunday, May 25, 2008


Good Forum, Bad Forum - Tech Alert: Skype

by Reb Akiva at Mystical Paths

While we're busy trying to use these tools to their greatest potential for good, Torah, and kiddush Hashem, there are those busy using these tools for the opposite, hijacking, corrupting, destroying, perverting.

I've been a long time user of Skype, which was a major technological advance in free internet phone calls, and even more cool, free internet video calls. Following our move to Israel, this has been a nice facility for my children to video chat with their grandfather.

But, in the past two weeks Skype has been infested with highly-inappropriate contact requests. Someone developed a facility to send these inappropriate requests to millions of Skype users, with an inappropriate picture, literally resending them several times daily to most Skype users.

Be warned, there's no solution to this at the moment (tech brief here). If you're being impacted by this, you may want to shut down Skype. I am, starting right now. And that's just sad.

If you're children are Skype users, you need to delete this from their computer until a solution is published.

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  1. Shalom !!! There is no need at all to ban skype, because it is so simple just to ban all possible spammers with a very easy solution: Go to your Skype's menu 'Options', then go to the menu 'Privacy' and choose there for the 'Allow calls from' the option 'only people I have allowed' and for the 'Allow chats from' choose also the option 'only people I have allowed'. And thats it. It is then impossible for anybody to ever bother you. Only people in your contacts list may ever call you or start to chat with you. And please before you ever start banning technology please try to figure out how to use it. Behatzlacha, David

  2. David - if you'd followed the tech link I included, you'd see you made a common misinterpretation of the problem.

    It's NOT calls or chats from inappropriate people. It's "Request for Contact" from people with inappropriate names (offering ... services) and similarly highly inappropriate profile pictures.

    Skype has put out an update that blocks the pictures on a new contact request, but not the "name". And there is no way to block contact requests (that's somewhat fundamental to Skype). Further, Skype allows any user to do a general lookup (try searching for a contact by just putting the letter A).

    Put these together and you have the problem I'm getting, multiple contact requests per day with pictures and names that not only my children are too young to see, I'M TOO YOUNG TO SEE!

  3. Shalom Rabbi Akiva! Thank you for your clarification, now I see that I really misunderstood the problem. But in this case it sounds really sad for me - I use skype to connect every day from Goluth with my Rabbonim in Holy Eretz Israel to learn Torah. Seems like we were a way to successful for the sitra achara to accept it and now it tries to pollute the holiness with its filthy tricks. But we cannot allow the forces of evil to win, if we surrender and just ban the skype. We sould try to find some thechnical solution. Is it not true that among the frum Jews are some of the most skilled programmers?

  4. For example it could be possible to write an external windows programm which would monitor all popup windows from skype and just block and immediately close them, allowing only for the main skype windows to exist. So it is independent of skype and we do not have to wait for skype to implement their solution for this problem. And also it does not seem to be terribly difficult to make such a program. Could you, Rabbi Akiva, try to organize a team to make it ? Regards, David


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