Leading technology companies have issued an open letter condemning GCHQ (the UK government communication center) for advanced proposals for access to encrypted applications and social network chat rooms. According to The Guardian, this measure would forward (CC) encrypted messages to a third party, ie government security officials.
More than 50 companies signed the letter, including civil society organizations and security experts, including names such as Apple, Google, WhatsApp, Liberty and Privacy International, urging the British government to abandon the so-called ghost protocol. The authorities are asked to focus on the protection of privacy rights, cyber security and transparency.
The protocol of "peeking" encrypted messages will have been suggested in November 2018 by two British intelligence officials. Instead of using encryption tools, services would have to automatically forward messages to security services while sending them to users.
The companies argue that in order to serve GCHQ's request they would have to make two changes to systems that could seriously jeopardize the security and reliability of services and applications. First, they would have to create a system that transforms a two-way conversation into a conversation group, where the government entity was the additional participant, secretly.
Second, to ensure government involvement in the conversations in secret, it would force apps and services to change the software to change the encryption scheme and trick users by deleting certain notifications used during chats.
"The vast majority of users rely on the confidentiality and reputation of service providers to manage the authentication and verification functions of the participants in the conversations are the people they think they are, and only these people. The GCHQ proposal calls into question the trust relationship and the authentication process, "is mentioned in the letter.
Those responsible for the protocol have already responded, saying that the intention is to control terrorism. And that the proposal was introduced as a starting point for the discussion of the subject, promising to continue to interact with the companies concerned in order to reach the conclusion of the best possible solutions.
Recall that Apple in 2016 had already made against the FBI for refusing to unlock an iPhone, suspected of belonging to a San Bernardino terrorist. The FBI would eventually pay about $ 900,000 to a hacker to unlock.