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News Link • Government

We're From the Government and We're Here to 'Ghost' Read Your Emails

• https://reason.com

Habitually untrustworthy snoops still demand we trust them to monitor our communications.

Professional snoops are willing to back off their holy war against encryption—with just a few minor tradeoffs, of course. All we need do is allow them to invisibly join our conversations at will as "ghost" parties to encrypted communications. It would put our governmental overseers in the position of, say, that creepy neighbor who sneaks into the house of the couple next door and hides in the pantry while they lock the doors in the mistaken expectation of spending some quality time by themselves.

If you don't find that proposal reassuring, you're not alone. But let's see what the snoops are up to.

"It's relatively easy for a service provider to silently add a law enforcement participant to a group chat or call," mused Ian Levy, technical director of Britain's Government Communications Headquarters' (GCHQ) National Cyber Security Centre, and Crispin Robinson, GCHQ's technical director for cryptanalysis, in an article published last November. "This sort of solution seems to be no more intrusive than the virtual crocodile clips that our democratically elected representatives and judiciary authorise today in traditional voice intercept solutions and certainly doesn't give any government power they shouldn't have."

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