Dutch police seize a secure communications network

Dutch police seize a secure communications network

They’re concerned the business was really being used for organized crime.

Jon Fingas , @jonfingas

The worries about criminals using encryption might be overblown, but that changes when a secure network appears to be used primarily with that activity in mind. Dutch police have both seized encrypted communications network Ennetcom and arrested its owner, Danny Manupassa, over beliefs that the business was being used for organized crime. Reportedly, many of the 19,000-plus users used the company’s modified BlackBerry phones as part of “serious criminal activity,” including drug trafficking and gang murders. Manupassa himself is accused of money laundering and possessing illegal weapons.

At the moment, Ennetcom portrays itself as a victim: a notice on its website decries an “international collaboration” between governments in an attempt to silence a defender of “freedom of privacy.” It also makes no mention of the seizure, and implies that any shutdown was necessary.

While it’s true that law enforcement is sometimes less than sympathetic to encryption, that isn’t necessarily the problem here. It’s more a matter of how that network was used, and how much its owner knew about what was going on with his customers. There’s a good chance that many users are innocent, but that may not matter much if the network operator either condoned the sketchier customers or was involved in shady behavior of his own.

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