The police and the Public Prosecution Service in the Netherlands have been able to gain access to data from a crypto communication service used by criminals and read their conversations. It relates to the dismantled crypto-communication service Exclu.
According to reports, 48 people have been arrested so far in connection with the service and seizure of guns, drugs, and millions in cash.
Police conducted 79 searches on Friday across Belgium, Germany, and the Netherlands. Operators, administrators, and users of Exclu were the people who were arrested.
Exclu is a crypto-communication service that enables users to communicate encrypted messages to one another secretly and away from the eyes of law enforcement and the judiciary.
It is an application that can be downloaded to cell phones and activated using an 800-euro license valid for six months of use.
With Exclu, users may communicate with one another through chat, messaging, photographs, notes, voice memos, and videos. It is estimated that the app has about 3000 users, 750 of whom are Dutch speakers.
Details of the Investigations Conducted
Early findings reveal the discovery of two drug labs and a cocaine laundry. Additionally, many kilograms of drugs, more than 4 million euros in cash, and a number of firearms, as well as various luxury items, were seized.
“Under the authority of the National Public Prosecutor’s Office – extensively investigated the owners and managers of the crypto communication service and, in that context, searches, and arrests were also made in the Netherlands and Germany”, Dutch Police revealed
Also, with the help of specialized knowledge and expertise in technology and cybercrime as well as hacking power, the Exclu service has been dismantled and the data has been retrieved.
The criminal investigation division has also employed conventional investigative techniques to successfully identify app users.
Reports say police from the Netherlands, France, Italy, and Sweden took involved in this inquiry, which was overseen by Eurojust and Europol.
Hence, according to the reports, the Exclu service was taken down by the Dutch authorities, who also recovered the data and located and traced the users, developers, administrators, and service owners.
Searches were conducted at 22 locations throughout the Netherlands as part of the National Unit’s investigations, and 11 people were taken into custody.
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