Authorities can use hacked encrypted chats for investigations: Supreme Court
Encrypted chat messages originating from a hacked service can be used as evidence in a criminal case, the Supreme Court ruled with regards to Ennetcom data.
Ennetcom was a Dutch service that allowed people to send encrypted messages to each other. The users, including criminals, felt unwatched and spoke openly about their actions. The messages were on a server in Canada, which the police seized and decrypted. This provided the judiciary with a wealth of information.
The authorities used the chat messages as evidence in a case around the murder of Samir Erraghib. He was shot dead on 17 April 2016, while his daughter was sitting beside him. The two perpetrators were sentenced on appeal to 22 years in prison.
One of the convicts appealed, arguing that the Ennectom chats should not be used as evidence. The Netherlands had received the data as part of another criminal case and only coincidentally found out that some chats were about the Erraghib’s murder.
The Supreme Court brushed that objection off the table. The Netherlands agreed with Canada that the chats could be used as evidence in other cases, provided that an examining magistrate approves. That happened in this case, which makes the messages valid proof.
Reporting by ANP