Simon’s Backup Weblog

Recording Skype

Posted in Uncategorized by Simon Bisson on June 29, 2006

One thing missing from Skype is the ability to record calls.

As a journalist, I often need to make recordings of phone interviews – and getting them on my PC in digital format makes it easier to transcribe interviews (and hopefully soon, to search them). I have a small Sony recorder, but that uses a proprietary variant of ATRAC, and you need their software. It’ll plug into a phone line, with a bit of kit from Maplin, but the recording quality, err, sucks. This device from Olympus looks good for the future, but I need something now!

Luckily, while doing some research for my Office column, I came across an Outlook plug-in called Skylook that not only integrates your Outlook address book with your Skype address book, so you can call people using Skype Out or Skype-to-Skype, but also records conversations as MP3s, ready for archiving and editing. There’s even a built-in answerphone that adds calls to an Outlook folder. Microsoft may have made a splash earlier in the week with their unified messaging announcements, but Skylook’s there already. Tie it in with the integration and you’ve got a very interesting set of CRM tools…

The recording quality is good, and the size of the resulting MP3 isn’t too bad either. Skylook’s a rather useful piece of code. Businesses can use the recordings as part of any compliance procedure, while the rest of us can quickly turn them into podcasts (or should that be “skypecasts”?).

There’s a 14 day trial, and the final registration cost isn’t too bad either. A nice bit of code from our Aussie cousins…


12 Responses to 'Recording Skype'

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  1. surliminal said,

    Here’s a question I’ve been wondering about – suppose someone served a CALEA/RIPA type demand on Skype for (a_) real time monitoring of substance of calls (b) records of traffic – could they practically supply it? Would it be different if I said Vonage? (Yes I have just been at WEIS and boy, do I havea lot of questions..)(assume no one’s using Skylook..)

  2. sbisson said,

    No, the P2P nature of the Skype network means it’s to all intents and purposes impossible.

  3. surliminal said,

    In which case why so much fuss in the US about applying CALEA to VoiP?

  4. surliminal said,

    See eg .

  5. anonymous said,

    Pamela seems to work for recording conversations; it complies with european laws regards making the other party aware they are being recorded btw.

    It also provides an alternative to Skype voicemail and will forward recordings to a pre-selected email address. I use that when I’m on the road to answer the Skype phone in my office and send me an email with voice recording attached.

  6. sbisson said,

    It depends on the type of VoIP network. SIP-based networks like Vonage or Gizmo go through central hubs, as do hybrid IMS systems, so CALEA can apply there…

    Skype’s architecture makes it an anomaly. I could see a possible logging route for it, but it would require changes to the way Skype supernodes work.

  7. sbisson said,

    I always make sure people have agreed to being recorded. After all, it’s polite!

  8. sbisson said,

    I note the reference to “facilities-based” and “interconnected” VOIP. Sounds like it’s explicitly targetting SIP-based services, and deiberately excludes the P2P Skype networks…

  9. surliminal said,

    The stuff that could be interceopted through eg Vonage’s central hub – is it encrypted? Would you just get traffic data?

    If you’re interested – I picked up on most of this cos Susan Landau from Sun has a big report coming out on it saying the changes needed to comply eg by FCC, would introduce major security vulnerabilities. might be good for a column for you?

  10. surliminal said,

    Apparently FCC started with Vonage etc but are thinking of moving on to Skype as the US Ct of Appeals has just rejected an appeal against the FCC’s decision last year that CALEA did indeed VOIP.
    In UK re RIPA it seems even muzier..

  11. razorsmile said,

    Not a journalist but I’m bound to find something useful to do with this. Thanks for the tip.

  12. anonymous said,

    Hi Simon

    I use HotRecorder for recording from Skype. It’s a very handy app as it supports two-way recording from the vast majority of IM clients including MSN Messenger, AIM, Google Talk and Yahoo Messenger.

    Chris Green

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