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.” It comes after intelligence officials at GCHQ proposed a way in which they believed law enforcement could access end-to-end encrypted communications without undermining the privacy, security or confidence of other users.
Details of the initiative were first published in an essay by two of the U.K.’s highest cybersecurity officials in November 2018. Ian Levy, the technical director of Britain’s National Cyber Security Centre, and Crispin Robinson, GCHQ’s head of cryptanalysis (the technical term for codebreaking), put forward a process that would attempt to avoid breaking encryption. The pair said it would be “relatively easy for a service provider to silently add a law enforcement participant to a group chat or call.”
In other words, if enacted, this “ghost protocol” will allow governments to spy on every online activity and every email message, text message, and much more that you and everyone else ever reads or writes. In short, British Intelligence wants encrypted messaging services to send them an unencrypted copy of every message sent.
Of course, once governments gain that access, hackers undoubtedly will soon learn how to illegally access the same material as well.
You can read a lot more in an article by Sam Meredith in the CNBC web site at: https://tinyurl.com/privacyblog20190530.