Judges have decided that communications collected by French and Dutch police from the encrypted phone network EncroChat using software ‘implants’ are admissible evidence in British courts.
Police have made more than 1,000 arrests in the UK after the EncroChat phone network was compromised by French and Dutch investigators.
UK law prohibits law enforcement agencies from using evidence obtained from interception in criminal trials.
But three judges found on Friday [5 February] that material gathered by French and Dutch investigators and passed to the UK’s National Crime Agency were lawfully obtained through “equipment interference”.
“Today’s verdict implies that intercepting, or “tapping” – copying other people’s live private calls and messages – has no clear meaning in the digital age,” said Duncan Campbell, who acted as a forensic expert in the case for defendants, speaking after the verdict.
“If upheld, the ruling appears to mean that tapping is only now tapping if a radio, cable or optical signal is split and copied, but not if data is copied from temporary memory. The consequences from this will be significant,” he said.
Computer Weekly is able to report legal arguments around the case for the first time today following the removal of some previous