What does the police hack of messaging service EncroChat mean for criminal prosecutions?


Encrypted messaging is used by hundreds of millions of people worldwide, via services such as WhatsApp, Signal and Wire, allowing people to conduct private conversations online. But a major investigation and hack by European police of a secretive encrypted messaging service, EncroChat, and subsequent prosecutions across Europe, has many people questioning what this means for the security of encrypted messaging, as well as raising complex legal challenges around the acquisition and use of such communications data in criminal prosecutions.

EncroChat was a Europe-based communications network and service provider, which sold specially designed encrypted messaging mobile devices, with maximum privacy settings and functions enabled. Devices came with pre-installed applications including encrypted messaging apps, voice-encrypted call services, and encrypted private notes. In 2020, the Europe-wide police operation was able to covertly access and monitor a hundred million encrypted messages sent through EncroChat by people discussing drug deals, murders, and extortion plots. It represents one of the largest law enforcement infiltrations of a communications network ever.

How did they do it? What have been the repercussions? What is the legality of these investigations and subsequent criminal prosecutions? What does this mean for the security of encrypted messaging?

Join us for a talk by renowned investigative journalist and expert witness in EncroChat cases, Duncan Campbell, who will discuss the EncroChat hack, criminal investigation and the prosecutions that followed.


Duncan Campbell, an expert witness called in EncroChat criminal litigation in the UK, with decades of experience in the field of surveillance.
Duncan Campbell is an investigative journalist, author, consultant and television producer specialising in privacy, civil liberties and surveillance issues. He works and is recognised as a forensic expert witness on computers and communications data. He has provided specialist testimony in over a hundred criminal and civil cases and has given evidence to the House of Commons and the European Parliament on surveillance legislation