We have written to GCHQ with other rights NGOs including Privacy International, Open Rights Group, Liberty, EFF, Human Rights Watch, Access Now, the Tor project; tech companies Apple, Google, Microsoft and WhatsApp, and many more groups, demanding a rethink of plans to add Government ghosts into encrypted conversations.
Director of Big Brother Watch, Silkie Carlo, said:
The security and intelligence agencies already have a range of powers they can use to access encrypted communications of targets, but these plans reveal a much broader and more dangerous approach to surveillance. Government plans to secretly sabotage encrypted communications platforms reflect their desire to narrow the spaces we have left to enjoy private conversations.
This move would pose a serious risk to whistleblowers, journalists and human rights campaigners in particular. But everyone has something to worry about when their Government starts drawing up plans to silently slide into private conversations. This approach requires the state to issue a notice to companies, such as WhatsApp, and force them to break their own security features whilst gagged into silence. Ordinary people increasingly have no way of knowing what companies they can trust, where their information is going and what security risks they’re being exposed to.
In recent years, the UK has rapidly declined into a surveillance state with an infrastructure for citizen monitoring that even the Stasi would aspire to.
Read our full letter to GCHQ here.