Internet community objects to GCHQ idea to eavesdrop on encrypted messages

Forty-seven tech companies, civil society organisations and international experts – including Apple, Microsoft, Google, WhatsApp, Human Rights Watch, ISOC and Privacy International – jointly raised concerns over the idea, dubbed ‘Ghost proposal’, raised by the UK intelligence agency GCHQ to eavesdrop on encrypted communications. In an open letter to GCHQ published on Lawfare, they explained how the proposal would work in practice, and warned that it would ‘undermine the authentication process that enables users to verify that they are communicating with the right people, introduce potential unintentional vulnerabilities, and increase risks that communications systems could be abused or misused.’ ‘Ghost proposal’ was presented by the two GCHQ officials in the article also published on Lawfare, in which they argue that law enforcement should be added as a ‘ghost’ participant in every encrypted messaging conversation, which would allow it to monitor communications without inserting backdoors into encryption protocols. The proposal, however, is currently not part of the GCHQ agenda, but rather served as part of a series of essays for discussions, The Verge underlines.