It concerns the Sky ECC messaging service, which is originally a Canadian company. The police say they have been able to read the messages since last month. Sky’s server has been taken offline and seized today.
The new judicial investigation has been called Argus. 30 people were arrested in today’s actions. In recent weeks, 43 suspects had already been arrested in the Netherlands. Large quantities of hard drugs and millions of euros were also seized. In addition, several drug labs have been dismantled recently.
Police said many criminals turned to Sky after a similar messaging service, EncroChat, was shut down last year. Sky ECC is said to have 70,000 users worldwide, police say. In the Netherlands, this would concern approximately 11,000 accounts. Many arrests and house searches have also been carried out in Belgium today.
‘Goldmine’ of information
The investigation has not ended with the actions of the past weeks. Justice says it has hundreds of millions of messages. More actions will result from this ‘gold mine’ of information in the near future.
In the Netherlands alone, ‘dozens of planned serious violent crimes’ would have been prevented by the investigation in recent weeks, the police claim. This would include kidnappings, liquidations and shootings.
Police say they have hit organized crime hard with the new investigation. International organizations engaged in large-scale drug trafficking, money laundering and violent settlements would be “totally dependent” on shielded communications, police say. “Users think they are safe and think they will stay out of the hands of the police and justice.”
The Sky ECC communications network is said to have promised its users a secure, global network. Compared to the EncroChat study, this is “the superlative,” police say.