The British version of the NSA—called Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ)—wants Apple to secretly add the agency to iMessage chats and FaceTime calls (via ACLU).

[The GCHQ’s Idea to Spy on Encrypted Messaging Apps]

Eavesdropping

It sounds like the agency was enamored of the Group FaceTime bug which let people spy on conversations under certain circumstances. Under the Ghost Proposal the government should be able to add secret chat participants:

It’s relatively easy for a service provider to silently add a law enforcement participant to a group chat or call. The service provider usually controls the identity system and so really decides who’s who and which devices are involved — they’re usually involved in introducing the parties to a chat or call…. In a solution like this, we’re normally talking about suppressing a notification on a target’s device… and possibly those they communicate with.

This is a sneaky way to bypass end-to-end encrypted messaging apps. Conversations will still be encrypted but governments will be able to spy on you anyway. Which essentially renders the encryption worthless if you can’t trust who you’re chatting to.

As the ACLU points out, this won’t be limited to democratic governments. Authoritarian governments will also want to participate. It’s the same backdoor argument all over again: You can’t ensure that only the good guys can use them.

[It’s Official: Australia Bans Encryption]

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cubefan

GCHQ, can in the immortal words of the prophet, ‘get stuffed’. But then again, this is under the control of a Prime Minister responsible whilst Home Secretary, for the Snooper’s Charter. Along the same lines, the Metropolitan Police in London issued a fixed penalty notice – a fine, to a man for refusing to be Face Recognised as he legitimately walked past a facial recognition camera on test in a London street. He was stopped by a plain clothes policeman who I think issued the notice when the man told him to ‘p*** o**’. This is in a country with… Read more »

geoduck

When the “Good Guys” start acting like the “Bad Guys” who are the Good Guys any more?