A group of 47 signatories, headed by Open Technology Institute and including Apple, Google, Microsoft and WhatsApp, penned a letter to UK’s Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) expressing their concerns about the latter’s proposal, made last autumn, to implement the so-called ‘ghost protocol’ in private, encrypted communication. This would have allowed government agents to be added as a participant in private chats/calls without the knowledge of users. The letter was sent to GCHQ on 22 May 2019, and made public by the signatories on Lawfare on May 30, 2019. What was the contested proposal? On November 29, 2018, Lawfare published an article by Ian Levy and Crispin Robinson that proposed that a service provider could ‘silently add a law enforcement participant to a group chat or call’. They argued that everything would still be end-to-end encrypted, but there would be an…
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