Trojan-Encrypted Device Reveals Criminal Activities

As a result of one of the largest operations against encrypted criminal activities at the beginning of June 2021, 800 suspects were arrested and over $48 million in various worldwide currencies and cryptocurrencies seized. Operation “TF Greenlight/Trojan Shield” was conducted by the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Dutch National Police, and the Swedish Police Authority, in cooperation with the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and 16 other countries. Europol provided support by coordinating law enforcement authorities, sharing information, and bringing intelligence into ongoing operations. By means of an encrypted device company called ANOM, run by the FBI together with its partners, messages discussing the criminal activities of over 300 criminal syndicates operating in more than 100 countries could be obtained, leading to a series of large-scale law enforcement actions being executed across 16 countries.

In 2020, law enforcement authorities, with the support of Europol, dismantled the EncroChat network that largely offered encrypted communication tools for criminals. At the beginning of 2021, Eurojust and Europol helped infiltrate Sky ECC – another service that offered encrypted communications among criminals (→ eucrim 1/2021, 22-23). These police activities triggered however discussion whether the information gathered can be used as evidence in trial. On 2 July 2021, it was reported that the Regional Court of Berlin did not accept data, which was hacked in the EncroChat operation. This decision deviates from previous German Higher Regional Court decisions in other, similar cases. The difference to the ANOM operation is, however, that the police did not infiltrate a private network, but operated it itself, thus entrapping criminals who wanted to communicate undisturbed.

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Authors

Riehle_Cornelia_Neu_SW.jpg
Cornelia Riehle LL.M.

Institution:
Academy of European Law (ERA)

Department:
Criminal Law