1. What exactly is this case about?
What is key in this case is that the police and the Public Prosecution Service have reached a breakthrough in the interception and decryption of encrypted communication between criminals who felt they had nothing to fear from the police and the judicial authorities.
The breakthrough was achieved after the Oost-Nederland Unit, during an investigation into money laundering and fraud, traced a supplier of encrypted telephones. We had sufficient evidence that these telephones were used for communication between criminals. We managed to intercept the encrypted communication between these telephones and were able to monitor the communication live for some time. This not only gave us a unique insight into existing criminal networks, it also enabled us to intercept drugs, weapons and money.
2. How many conversations did the police monitor?
The police read over 258,000 chat messages.
3. What were these conversations about?
Based on the information we gathered, we intercepted drugs and weapons deliveries and the transfer of money. We also intervened in a concrete threat of an attack between rivalling groups in criminal circles.
4. Was the server taken offline?
Yes, the server was taken offline.
5. Was this the first time this type of communication was successfully decrypted?
It has never been done before in the Netherlands and as far as we know it is also an international breakthrough. So for us it is an important feat in the field of digital investigation.
6. Was there 24/7 monitoring?
Yes, there was 24/7 monitoring.
7. Why did you conclude that encrypted telephones are mainly used by criminals?
We had sufficient evidence that these telephones were used for communication between criminals. What should be taken into account is that these phones are not ordinary phones. Firstly, the purchase price of these phones is about €1500 for the first half year. All the phone’s regular functions have been turned off. You can solely use it to send chat messages. The phones also have a panic button, which allows you to remove the entire content of the phone by pressing a single button.