In 2007 Skype Inc. had made an agreement with China to solidify its position in the country and offer users a China-based version of the service named TOM-Skype, which is run by a joint venture between Skype and TOM Online (a unit of Hong Kong-based TOM Group Ltd).
The conversations made with TOM-Skype are being monitored, nearly one million messages were sent last year to remote servers responsible for collecting text messages and personal user information. “Users of regular Skype can be affected as well if at least one other person in the conversation is using TOM-Skype”, said Ronald Deibert, the director of the Citizen Lab at the University of Toronto.
Certain users have been placed on a blacklist based on several keywords TOM-Skype is listening for, and are now being monitored by the “Online Police”.
If you travel or live in China we recommend you to use the international version of Skype for obvious privacy reasons.
In China the home page of Skype redirects to the TOM-Skype software download, but there are several ways to get the US version of Skype, like using a proxy server, a VPN Service or a P2P download.