Just as several technical companies are beginning to see the light in terms of privacy and security, intelligence agencies will still be able to spy on encrypted communications, whether it be text chat or conversations.
The same goes for the British spies on GCHQ, who suggested back in November that they should be able to cancel encrypted messages. Several companies, including Apple, Google, Microsoft, WhatsApp and others, have responded to GCHQ, criticizing its pressure to undermine the security of end-to-end encryption.
Apple has made a great deal of agreement that its devices and services are intended to protect the privacy and security of users, including the use of encryption to lock gadgets, and to protect the content of iMessage texts and FaceTime calls. Newer, Facebook, which owns WhatsApp, announced a significant privacy and security pivot that includes the use of end-to-end encryption in chat apps. Google followed a similar move, even though the company was looking to define what privacy means, and at the same time suggest that its type of privacy doesn't come with such steep costs as Apple's.
Apple, Google, Microsoft and WhatsApp are just four of the 47 signatures that signed an open letter published at Lawfare to criticize the British intelligence agency's plans to listen to encrypted conversations when it is necessary. This is not the first time a coalition of technological giants has spoken out in favor of encryption.
GCHQ seems to think adding a quiet attendee to a group call or chat would be enough to give them access to targeted groups. Adding this "ghost member" will also mean that the technical companies that develop chat apps would go a long way to concealing the existence of this ghost from the other members of the chat. In this way, the police authority will collect information about a target, have access to all the contents of a call or ring in an unencrypted format.
Lawfare who worked with the 47 entities on the answer, explained in the letter what this proposal would really mean if implemented, and concluded that adding a ghost member to all of these chats would "undermine the authentication process that does that users can verify that they are communicating with the right people, introducing potential unintentional vulnerabilities and increasing the risk of communication systems being misused or abused. "
" If users cannot trust that they know who is at the other end of communication, it does not matter that their conversations are protected by strong encryption during transit, Lawfare writes, "These communications will not be safe, threatening users' right to privacy and exemption."
The letter, which is fully available on this link, GCHQ encourages to leave the ghost proposal and any other approach that would pose equivalent risk cow for safety