Second Report on Encryption Published

In February 2020, Eurojust and Europol published their second joint report on the observatory function of encryption. The report analyses the following:

  • The progress of the encryption debate;
  • The current legal landscape in which to address encryption in criminal investigations;
  • Existing challenges.

The challenges include the following issues:

  • Increasing use of encrypted communication devices by Organised Crime Groups (OCG);
  • Policies and decisions by technology companies that influence the ability to access user data for the purpose of criminal investigations;
  • The industry’s shift towards developments using End-to-End-Encryption (E2EE);
  • The introduction of user-controlled encryption allowing users to have ultimate control over the encryption and decryption of their data;
  • Homomorphic encryption allowing for data to be computed without compromising the privacy of that data;
  • Information-hiding technologies, e.g., steganography;
  • Quantum computing and 5G.

In its conclusions, the report pinpoints the overarching problem of conducting criminal investigations in contemporary society when sources of data by which to gather evidence are cut off. For the first joint report on encryption, see eucrim 1/2019, p. 12.

News Guide

EU Eurojust Europol


Cornelia Riehle LL.M.

Academy of European Law (ERA)

Criminal Law

Deputy Head of Section