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Encryption Canada Crime

Dutch Police Seize Encrypted Communication Network With 19,000 Users (reuters.com) 77

An anonymous reader writes: Dutch police have seized and shut down Ennetcom, an encrypted communications network with 19,000 users, according to Reuters. The network's 36-year-old owner, Danny Manupassa, has also been arrested, and faces charges of money laundering and illegal weapons possession, while the information obtained in the seizure may also be used for other criminal prosecutions. "Police and prosecutors believe that they have captured the largest encrypted network used by organized crime in the Netherlands," prosecutors said in a statement.

"Although using encrypted communications is legal," Reuters reports, "many of the network's users are believed to have been engaged in 'serious criminal activity,' said spokesman Wim de Bruin of the national prosecutor's office, which noted that the company's modified phones have repeatedly turned up in cases involving drugs, criminal motorcycle gangs, and gangland killings.

A spokesman for the National Prosecutor's office "declined to comment on whether and how police would be able to decrypt information kept on the servers."
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Dutch Police Seize Encrypted Communication Network With 19,000 Users

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  • That's just a hilarious thought.

    E

    • by SpzToid ( 869795 ) on Saturday April 23, 2016 @04:43PM (#51973973)

      Actually Dutch motorcycle gangs aren't funny, or even very nice:

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

      The Hells Angels control much of the drug trade in the Netherlands, and are also involved in prostitution.[6] The Dutch police have stated that the Hells Angels smuggle cocaine into the country through terrorist organizations and drug cartels in Curaçao and Colombia, and also deal in ecstasy and illegal firearms.[175]

      In October 2005, the Dutch police raided Hells Angels' clubhouses in Amsterdam, Haarlem, IJmuiden, Harlingen, Kampen and Rotterdam as well as a number of houses. Belgian police also raided two locations over the border. Police seized a grenade launcher, a flame thrower, hand grenades, 20 hand guns, a machine pistol and €70,000 (US$103,285) in cash. A number of Hells Angels members were later imprisoned on charges of international trafficking of cocaine and ecstasy, the production and distribution of marijuana, money laundering and murder, after an investigation that lasted over a year.[176]

      In 2006 two Dutch newspapers reported that the Amsterdam brothel Yab Yum had long been controlled by the Dutch Hells Angels, who had taken over after a campaign of threats and blackmailing.[177] The city council of Amsterdam revoked the license of Yab Yum in December 2007. During a subsequent trial the city's attorney repeated these allegations and the brothel's attorney denied them.[178] The brothel was closed in January 2008.[179]

      • "Hells Angels smuggle cocaine into the country through terrorist organizations"

        Is there anything that we won't declare a Terrorist Organization? And no, I'm not an anti-gov't guy. Hell, I'm a bleedin' socialist and voted for Bernie Sanders in the primary (waited in line 2 1/2 hours to do that, too).

        As for the weapons, to be honest in America that's not really a big deal. I don't mean that as a joke either. I know gun nuts who've got that kinda spread. Gernande launchers are legal here. It's the munit
        • Gernande launchers are legal here. It's the munitions we regulate.

          In highschool (circa '90), I had a classmate who was in the Reserves. After school one day, he swung by my house, opened his trunk andb pulled out a spent L.A.W. rocket launcher. While that may or may not have been a big deal (he indicated that they were one-shot disposable one-shot fiberglass tubes that soldiers were supposed to crunch under their boots), he went on at length about a supposedly available "sub-caliber device" or some such... needless to say, this extremely mild-mannered, affable, weapons-o

        • That statement doesn't indicate that the terrorist organization was such for the drug smuggling, it was likely the FARC, which does much more than drug smuggling.

          The Taliban funds much of their operations through the sale of opium, does that mean suddenly that trading in opium is now a terrorist act? No.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Nehmo ( 757404 )

        Actually Dutch motorcycle gangs aren't funny, or even very nice:

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

        The Hells Angels control much of the drug trade in the Netherlands, and are also involved in prostitution.[6]

        The first statement is suspicious because the Netherlands has thousands of people involved in drugs and even more in prostitution, and it's unlikely one bike gang would be so prominent. Checking the references, that statement simply comes from a reporter for a low-circulation newspaper (which I've never heard of, and I lived there). The Hells Angles aren't as influential or powerful as the article claims.

        • by F.Ultra ( 1673484 ) on Saturday April 23, 2016 @07:51PM (#51974993)
          Hells Angels is a major player in drugs and prostitution through out western Europe, they have competition yes (another bike gang, Bandidos is among them) since no once ever have 100% of a market as big as this but they are major players. Remember that we are not talking about the selling to end customers here, that is handled by the thousands of low life people that you refer to, we are talking about the smuggling and human trafficking part of it. There are not thousands of people in the Netherlands that smuggle huge amounts of cocain over the borders.
          • by Nehmo ( 757404 )
            Hoe zou u weten?
            • Because they have played a major part in the criminal underworld where I live. During the 90:e when I was doing my Military Service there where an all out war between the Hells Angels and Bandidos, where they fired Anti Tank Weapons upon each other (the light AT4 model) so we had plenty of work in the army at the moment to protect all the weapons caches from their hands.

              And it's common knowledger over here from papers to the police that HA are heavily invested in smuggling of drugs, weapons and prostitutes.

      • by Nyder ( 754090 )

        Make the drugs legal and they won't be able to make money on it.

        • People objecting to this idea usually think it would mean a complete legalization of hard drugs, free-for-all consumption and massive crime waves. I believe there *is* common ground here between the people who want to legalize several widely used drugs and the opponents of it. It's a fact, and has been for centuries, that people use certain types of drugs whether they're legal or not. Keeping such drugs illegal and their users out of the reach of professional help means it's only feeding criminal activities

      • by johanw ( 1001493 )

        Prostitution is legal here, although some chruistian moralists from several parties are trying to end that. Christians will never stop trying to force others to live by their dessert morals.

        • Just like every other religion they think that it is their god given duty to force their religion on everyone else.
        • Christians will never stop trying to force others to live by their dessert morals.

          Is that like calling Devil's Food cake a sin or something?

      • by johanw ( 1001493 )

        Taking over the red light district with treats and blackmail... That sounds alot like the actions of city council of Amsterdam after they got fooled by the lies of Valérie Lempereur. The same idiot (Asscher) who was fooled by her is now a Dutch minister.

      • Out of all of those charges the only one that should be illegal is the one for murder.
  • Does this mean the NoSuchAgency have backdoors into all other systems? Of course if your secret keys reside on some server, then they're not really secret, just ask BlackBerry [recode.net]
  • Good job by the authorities. Who knows what those crackpot criminals were planning to do???
  • I wonder if they will sell it at the police auction.
  • by clonehappy ( 655530 ) on Saturday April 23, 2016 @05:18PM (#51974125)

    AT&T switches seized because known criminals were using it to communicate with one another. Also, all Postal Service trucks will be ordered off the roads as criminals are using them to mail illegal goods.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Frosty Piss ( 770223 ) *

      AT&T switches seized because known criminals were using it to communicate with one another. Also, all Postal Service trucks will be ordered off the roads as criminals are using them to mail illegal goods.

      Thanks for your amusing but meaningless blather.

      In fact this was network specifically designed for facilitating this that are illegal for good reasons.

      • :-) You're not pissed, are ya? Your last sentence there, could you rephrase that?

        Thanks for the props, man!

      • In fact this was network specifically designed for facilitating this that are illegal for good reasons.

        Oh really? Says who?

        • Says people in those countries who elect representatives that pass laws against violent biker gangs.

          • by johanw ( 1001493 )

            The Dutch prosecution TRIED to have those biker gangs declared illegal, but failed several times before several courts until they gave up on that.

      • In fact this was network specifically designed for facilitating this that are illegal for good reasons.

        And by "specifically designed" you mean that it actually, for once, was a secure communications platform?

      • by Anonymous Coward

        So I googled Ennetcom:

        "Ennetcom Encrypted BlackBerry PGP S/MIME Communication"

        that seems very generic, and not "specifically designed" for anything except secure communications.

        But I bet you believe anything "the authorities" tell you, and can't conceive that the government can break the law because you think the government and it's functionaries _are_ the law.

      • by MrL0G1C ( 867445 )

        In fact this was network specifically designed for facilitating this that are illegal for good reasons.

        If the police said AT&T's telephone network was designed to facilitate criminals, would you believe that too?

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Who the hell designs an encrypted network dependant on a single server?

      Be careful whick encrypted network you use for your criminal activities guys.

    • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

      You know what, whilst people might laugh, we all know now, if they could, they would and after exposing the extremely corrupt NSA, we have proof, if they can get away with it, legal or illegal they will do it. Oddly enough in many ways no different to the criminal gangs they pursue. Gang wars?!?

  • by real gumby ( 11516 ) on Saturday April 23, 2016 @07:27PM (#51974863)

    Accurate summary: "The cops siezed a network and other assets used by alleged criminals to facilitate crime. Oh and by the way it used encryption though despite that the cops we able to get what they needed to legally justify intervening without breaking the encyption."

    Instead that scary "encryption" is right up front, though it was irrelevant. They might as well have said "computers" or "electrons"

  • Banks like CitiGroup have similar private setups but no one will ever question them. There are no policemen patrolling the corridors or corporations no matter how corrupt they are.
  • by matbury ( 3458347 ) on Sunday April 24, 2016 @12:28AM (#51976001) Homepage

    The whole point of this article is to associate using encryption with criminal activities. I bet the suspects under arrest also drank coffee and drove cars. Can we safely say that terrorists and criminals drink coffee and drive cars? We should treat anyone who drinks coffee and drives as suspects.

    Also note that they were arrested despite using encryption, drinking coffee, and driving cars.

  • Funny how the headline is "Dutch Police Seize Encrypted Communication Network" while actually it is about a (1) guy arrested for money laundering and illegal weapons possession. It has absolutely shit to do with encryption.
    Another depressingly obvious attempt at blackening encryption in the minds of the people, the obvious goal of course being more control by corporations / the government over the people.

    • by johanw ( 1001493 )

      He sold ridiculously expensive access to his own BES server combined with modified BlackBerry mobiles (he disabled the microphone and GPS unit against tracking or remote listening). Today, apps like Signal or SMSSecure offer better functionality for free.

    • No, they also shut down the network with 19000 users. They said that anyone who had a phone could get access again "after explaining why they were using it". They are heavily overreaching their authority and will very likely be slapped down. The money laundering charge stems from the fact they guy involved asked a lot of money for the service (100 euro per month I read) and the police says "he had to know most of his customers were criminals, and [therefore] paying with black money".

      I doubt this will hold w

  • by Sir Holo ( 531007 ) on Sunday April 24, 2016 @04:40AM (#51976533)

    This "war on encryption" is stupid to the core.

    When I want to message my colleagues, mostly ISIS members but also some Taliban, I use paper, pens, and send the missives to my minions via the United State Postal Service.

    Encryption, pfeh! There is nothing that can feasibly beat OTPs (one-time pads). And the USPS is Constitutionally mandated by the US Government to exist.

    Maybe the government should surveil itself!

    PS — WARNING to NSA, FBI, and other idiots: Sarcasm is above.

  • "which noted that the company's modified phones have repeatedly turned up in cases involving drugs, criminal motorcycle gangs, and gangland killings."

    Just like Glocks and Smith&Wessons, we should close those firms and throw everybody in jail.

  • FTFA :

    "The company sold modified telephones for about 1,500 euros each and used its own servers for the encrypted data traffic," the prosecutors said. "The phones had been modified so that they could not be used to make calls or use the Internet."

    The phones had turned up repeatedly in investigations into drug cases, criminal motorcycle gangs, and gangland killings, prosecutors said.

    Now, that sounds like someone doing some moderately deep hacking into the OS of the phones.

    On the other hand, I'm also remind

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