Apple and Other Tech Giants Condemn GCHQ Proposal to Eavesdrop on Encrypted Messages

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by MacRumors, May 30, 2019.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    Apple and other tech giants have joined civil society groups and security experts in condemning proposals from Britain's cybersecurity agency that would enable law enforcement to access end-to-end encrypted messages (via CNBC).

    British Government's Communications HQ in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire

    In an open letter to the U.K.'s GCHQ (Government Communications Headquarters), 47 signatories including Apple, Google and WhatsApp urged the U.K. eavesdropping agency to ditch plans for its so-called "ghost protocol," which would require encrypted messaging services to direct a message to a third recipient, at the same time as sending it to its intended user.

    Ian Levy, the technical director of Britain's National Cyber Security Centre, and Crispin Robinson, GCHQ's head of cryptanalysis, published details of the proposal in November 2018. In the essay, Levy and Robinson claimed the system would enable law enforcement to access the content of encrypted messages without breaking the encryption.

    The officials argued it would be "relatively easy for a service provider to silently add a law enforcement participant to a group chat or call," and claimed this would be "no more intrusive than the virtual crocodile clips," which are currently used in wiretaps of non-encrypted chat and call apps.

    Signatories of the letter opposing the plan argued that the proposal required two changes to existing communications systems that were a "serious threat" to digital security and fundamental human rights, and would undermine user trust.
    Apple's strong stance against weakened device protections for the sake of law enforcement access was highlighted in the 2016 Apple vs. FBI conflict that saw Apple refuse to create a backdoor access solution to allow the FBI to crack the iPhone 5c owned by San Bernardino shooter Syed Farook.

    Responding to the open letter, which was first sent to GCHQ on May 22, the National Cyber Security Centre's Ian Levy told CNBC: "We welcome this response to our request for thoughts on exceptional access to data -- for example to stop terrorists. The hypothetical proposal was always intended as a starting point for discussion."

    "We will continue to engage with interested parties and look forward to having an open discussion to reach the best solutions possible," Levy said.

    Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.

    Article Link: Apple and Other Tech Giants Condemn GCHQ Proposal to Eavesdrop on Encrypted Messages
  2. GaryMumford macrumors 6502


    Jul 25, 2008
  3. Solomani macrumors 68040


    Sep 25, 2012
    Alberto, Canado
    The UFO campuses….. they're breeding! Multiplying! :p
  4. verpeiler macrumors 6502a


    May 11, 2013
    Munich, Germany
    Secret service‘s wet dreams...

    Glad we have so much encryption and privacy these days, we don’t need governments spying on its citizens.
  5. Oohara macrumors 68030


    Jun 28, 2012
  6. neuropsychguy macrumors 65816


    Sep 29, 2008
    This is a better approach than forcing a backdoor. It's not the right solution yet but with tweaks (e.g., no changes to encryption, only done after a warrant) it could work. This is essentially wiretapping.
  7. Shirasaki macrumors G3


    May 16, 2015
    What will happen is this law will pass, and Apple has to comply, and encryption becomes completely useless long before quantum computer can break it entirely. Of course, government will then ban encryption and limit it to government agencies only.
  8. WoodpeckerBaby macrumors 6502


    Aug 17, 2016
    GCHQ has balls bigger than Huawei would ever imagined possible.
  9. DVD9 macrumors 6502a

    Feb 18, 2010
    "We welcome this response to our request for thoughts on exceptional access to data — for example to stop terrorists.

    How about you physically remove from your country those responsible for creating the terrorists?

    That's the only kind of help I'm going to seek from any "security forces".
  10. Glideslope macrumors 603


    Dec 7, 2007
    A quiet place in NY.
    Interesting design. How long was it up prior to Apple Park being put forward in concept? Would be ironic if this structure inspired SJ. :apple:
  11. Quu macrumors 68030


    Apr 2, 2007
    What you've just said is essentially acceptance of the status quo because wiretapping has been done in the past why not apply it to technology of today.

    When instead we should be asking ourselves, should wiretapping be allowed at all? - Now that we have the technical means to withstand that kind of attack on our communications should we allow it to continue?

    I think not. Also we need to keep mind of the slippery slope that is occuring. You cannot compel someone to give up a password to their device but they can force you to look at your FaceID or place your finger on a TouchID fingerprint reader.

    What happens in 50 years from now when we get the ability to access people's memories directly from their brains using some kind of special sensor placed on the skull? - Well we had wiretaps to hear what people said on the phone, then we had that encryption law that let us add ourselves to conversations held in apps.. this is just a natural extension of that, now we can actually see what they said right from their own brains.
  12. HacKage macrumors 6502

    May 14, 2010
    It was completed in 2003, so the concept and design work would have been in the late 90's. It was opened and occupied before Apple even bought the land for the Apple park.
  13. PlayUltimate macrumors regular


    Jul 29, 2016
    Boulder, CO
    IMO, it look like a cricket or Aussie rules stadium.
  14. apolloa macrumors G4

    Oct 21, 2008
    Time, because it rules EVERYTHING!
    Hmm on the one hand I think our UK services are pretty damn good and have stopped a lot of attacks, which we will never know about, but on the other I’m not sure about every single message being sent to them..
    I don’t think the EU will like it either which I presume we are still required to adhere to?

    Hmm very split in this one. But considering the terrorists we have harboured and grown in the UK under our very noses maybe it would be for the best?
  15. vrDrew macrumors 65816

    Jan 31, 2010
    Midlife, Midwest
  16. Breaking Good macrumors 65816

    Sep 28, 2012
    Standard alien invasion strategy.
  17. gnasher729 macrumors P6


    Nov 25, 2005
    Two recent news reports: Criminals in the USA are using malware stolen from the NSA to hack into companies' computers, encrypt files, and ask for ransom money. Criminals in China are using malware most likely stolen from the Chinese governments to hack into companies' servers and install malware for bitcoin mining.

    If the NSA cannot keep its malware from being stolen by criminals, and the Chinese government cannot keep its malware from being stolen by criminals, what are the chances that GCHQ can read encrypted messages, without that ability getting stolen by criminals? Zero.
  18. elvisimprsntr macrumors 6502

    Jul 17, 2013
    So you put it in writing that it is technically possible.

  19. Sasparilla, May 30, 2019
    Last edited: May 30, 2019

    Sasparilla macrumors 65816

    Jul 6, 2012
    "We welcome this response to our request for thoughts on exceptional access to data -- for example to stop terrorists..."

    I love this - cause the terrorists are going to be using the messaging apps that can monitored by the governments? Um, no. This is about the government being able to monitor the general citizenry's communications cause they want to.
  20. Glideslope macrumors 603


    Dec 7, 2007
    A quiet place in NY.
    Interesting. Thanks. ;)
  21. applepuree macrumors 6502


    Aug 15, 2014
    The UK has more video surveillance in London alone than the whole of the UdSSR had in the entire country. The UK is a big brother state.
  22. nt5672 macrumors 68000

    Jun 30, 2007
    Let's say, for example only, that London was being run by elected religious fanatics. You really want the religious fanatics to be able to read every single message you exchange with anybody even close family and see every place you visit?

    You really want criminals, which we now know can get access to everything the government has access to, to read every single message you exchange with anybody even close family and see every place you visit?

    People need to wake up and see surveillance as the single greatest danger modern society faces.
  23. joueboy macrumors 68000

    Jul 3, 2008
    Even if they do which they probably already did upon the request of authority, they just have to say of course they don't support it. Imagine when Apple actually says they support this kind of thing I bet their stock will plummet like crazy.
  24. cyberlocke macrumors regular


    Mar 23, 2009
    Yeah, let's collect all private keys for all encrypted messages and store them under one roof and hope no one breaks their encryption to steal them all, because that's worked in the past.
  25. Gorms macrumors 6502


    Aug 30, 2012
    Be a shame if someone could get hold of the connection details for that third party and ghost spam it with junk messages to either bring it down like a DDoS or introduce so much noise that it's hard to get a signal.

    I won't do this, but some clever so-and-so on the Internet hopefully will.

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102 May 30, 2019