Dutch police crack encrypted communications network

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — Dutch police and prosecutors say they have taken down an encrypted communications network believed to have been used by criminals in the Netherlands and possibly overseas.

Prosecutors say in a statement that they arrested a 36-year-old man Tuesday in the eastern city of Nijmegen who is suspected of money laundering. He is the owner of a company which allegedly "provided criminals with customized smartphones and accompanying communication services."

Prosecutors says the company sold mobile phones for 1,500 euros ($1,700) that had been protected with a legal encryption program called Pretty Good Privacy and could only be used for email.

Police say that investigations into contract killings, drug trafficking and motorcycle gangs have shown that using encrypted networks "makes it almost impossible for investigation services to trace the communication between suspects."