In an open letter to GCHQ (Government Communications Headquarters), 47 signatories including Apple, Google and WhatsApp have jointly urged the U.K. cybersecurity agency to abandon its plans for a so-called “ghost protocol.”
The letter comes after an essay by two of the U.K.’s highest cybersecurity officials in November 2018 showed intelligence officials at GCHQ proposed a way published in in which they believed law enforcement could access end-to-end encrypted communications without undermining the privacy, security or confidence of other users. GCHQ want sevice providers to “silently add a law enforcement participant to a group chat or call”.
“First, it would require service providers to surreptitiously inject a new public key into a conversation in response to a government demand. This would turn a two-way conversation into a group chat where the government is the additional participant, or add a secret government participant to an existing group chat,” signatories of the open letter, which was first sent to GCHQ on May 22, said Thursday.
“Second, in order to ensure the government is added to the conversation in secret, GCHQ’s proposal would require messaging apps, service providers, and operating systems to change their software so that it would 1) change the encryption schemes used, and/or 2) mislead users by suppressing the notifications that routinely appear when a new communicant joins a chat”
GCHQ has yet to respond to news agency enquires.
Original source CNBC