Big Brother is spying on our Messenger

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Global trading of chemicals would grind to a halt without Yahoo Messenger. But how secret are our business and personal communications on messenger platforms? It’s enough to bring every trader and market reporter out in a cold sweat to read on the New Scientist blog that

“If you used the instant-messaging system MSN messenger in June 2006, all your chats were being collected and being passed (anonymised, of course) to researchers at Microsoft Research, a paper in the physics pre-print server arXiv reveals.”

Their results show that people are more likely to chat with others in the same geographical location, age group and of the same sex. Each account had on average 50 buddies and, in the IM world, people are separated by “7 degrees of separation”. People also chat more often and for longer with members of the opposite sex. Well, well, well …

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