UK Attorney General Issues Warning Posted On Twitter After Live Recording EncroChat Hearing

The judge presiding over the legality of the use of material from EncroChat, an encrypted telephone network allegedly used by thousands of criminals across Europe, has been asked by the Attorney General to , asked to record the hearing and consider prosecuting the person who posted the link. twitter.

A court is hearing a legal challenge to the use of encrypted conversations by the National Crime Agency (NCA) from EncroChat resulting from a hack conducted by French law enforcement.

Four days of hearings began on Tuesday, but on Thursday morning, Judge Edith announced that he would suspend the cloud video platform link. various prisons.

Edis said he noticed a link posted on Twitter to an illegal video recording of Wednesday’s proceedings.

Recording court proceedings in England is prohibited by the Contempt of Court Act, and Edith has contacted Attorney General Michael Ellis to prosecute anyone found recording hearings and sharing them on social media. He said he would ask him to look into it.

‘Risk’ to National Crime Agency Witnesses

Edis said the videotaping of the proceedings posed “a certain amount of risk” for the two witnesses who gave evidence.

Shrimpton said Tuesday that the NCA purchased EncroChat devices in 2017 and 2018 and reverse-engineered the technology in an attempt to crack the encryption.

He said that by early 2000, the NCA had acquired a copy of the EncroChat app.

Ten individuals awaiting trial in an evidence-based indictment on EncroChat have challenged the legality of the entire process, and the hearings have presented highly technical evidence on targeted equipment interference (TEI) warrants. I heard.

Epoch Times photo
An image of a gun and a stack of notes sent on the EncroChat network in March 2020. (Metropolitan Police)

of Investigative Powers Act Allows the police and the UK Revenue and Customs Service (HMRC) to apply for TEI warrants to hack emails or digital messages related to “specific” persons, places or operations.

TEI warrants can also be applied on a “thematic” basis to hack into members of organized crime groups that “share a common criminal purpose.”

NCA obtained EncroChat’s Thematic TEI on March 25, 2020 and was approved by the Information Commissioner the following day.

But critics call it a fishing expedition.

Matthew Ryder KC, an attorney for some people facing EncroChat indictments, said at a hearing on Tuesday that the NCA had learned how the French were intercepting messages when the TEI warrant was sought. said no.

Trial Counsel Claims NCA Tried to Match Warrant with Investigative Powers Act

Ryder said: The wrong way is to find the writ you want and try to fit it into the deed.

At one point, 50,000 people (over 5,000 in the UK) used EncroChat to send and receive secure messages.

Epoch Times photo
Paul Fontaine (L) and Frankie Sinclair (Metropolitan Police) in a police mugshot taken in November 2020

But in March 2020, French police used malware in the form of a software update to breach EncroChat’s network, hosted on servers in the town of Roubaix in northern France, and compromised tens of thousands of encrypted chats. Invaded the message.

The message was shared with the UK’s National Crime Agency, which launched Operation Venetic, claiming it had identified hundreds of criminals who were dealing drugs and guns and plotting murder.

In May of this year, Paul Fontaine, 36, from Hackney, East London, and Frankie Sinclair, 34, from Cardiff, Wales, were sentenced to life in prison for conspiring to murder based on EncroChat evidence. .

Thursday’s hearings will use real-time transcripts commissioned by the NCA, although cloud video platforms have been removed from all but barrister Stephen Kamlish KC, who was unable to attend the hearings in person due to COVID-19. it was done.

The court is expected to issue a final judgment later this year. If the NCA finds it has violated the Investigative Powers Act, it could mean that hundreds of EncroChat indictments will be dropped.

Chris Summers


Chris Summers is a UK-based journalist with a wide range of national coverage, with a particular interest in crime, police and law.