Apple, Google and others don’t want the prying eye of the English authorities in their email

The last attempt of a government agency to cast a prying eye in private conversations has received a frosty reception from the Apple and other e-mail providers. The GCHQ, the intelligence service electronic uk, unveiled last November a proposal that would allow him to insert in soft in the discussions of figures. In essence, each shared message in WhatsApp, Messenger, Messages, and the other would also be sent discreetly to a third party representing the forces of order.

The Doughnut, the headquarters of the GCHQ.

This voyeur would therefore logically have access to the whole of the conversation, reducing to nil the confidentiality of exchanges and the need for encryption. This procedure known as “ghost protocol” is not to the liking of the 47 signatories of an open letter, which includes in its ranks Apple, Google, WhatsApp, Microsoft, as well as civil society groups.

Two arguments are advanced in the letter to oppose this initiative. On the one hand, it would require the injection of a public key in the discussions : “it would turn a conversation into a group discussion where the government would be the additional participant, or would be a participant in a secret government in an existing group chat “.

On the other hand, this proposal of the GCHQ would require e-mail applications changes in their encryption system ; the apps would be forced to deceive the users who are usually warned upon the arrival of a newcomer in a discussion. No question, in effect, to alert the participants of a conversation that their chat is being monitored by the maison Poulaga.

The initiative of the information service English “sape completely ” the trust relationship between users and their e-mail preferred, as well as the process of authentication in these services. Suffice to say that the proposal of the GCHQ does not have unanimous support among key stakeholders.

The authorities of the british intelligence, have said that this proposal was a “hypothesis” which is mainly used to feed into the discussions. “We welcome the response [of service providers] to our reflection on the access to the data, for example to stop terrorists “, has explained to CNBC the National Cyber Security Centre.