'Tech giants including Apple, Google and WhatsApp have urged Britain's spy agency to scrap controversial plans to eavesdrop on encrypted chat conversations.
The proposal by GCHQ has been condemned as a 'serious threat' to cyber security and 'fundamental human rights.'
More than 50 companies, civil society organisations and security experts have united to voice concern over the proposals.
They said that if it was implemented, 'it will undermine the authentication process that enables users to verify that they are communicating with the right people,' and 'increase risks that communications systems could be abused or misused.'
The so called 'ghost protocol' was first mooted by two top intelligence officials in November last year.
Ian Levy, the technical director of the UKs national cyber security centre, and Crispin Robinson, head of cryptanalysis - or codebreaking - put forward the plan.
The technique would avoid breaking any encryption, but would instead require encrypted messaging services to effectively 'copy in' the message to a third party.
They insisted that it was no more intrusive than wiretapping non-encrypted communications.
Earlier this month, Norfolk Police Chief Constable Simon Bailey, the UK lead for child protection, said tech firms should make a digital key for police to unlock encrypted messages in 'exceptional circumstances' such as child abuse or terror cases.'
Read more: Tech giants including WhatsApp, Apple and Google urge GCHQ to scrap plans to spy on encrypted chats
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