Saturday, February 28, 2009

EU Agency Backtracks on Skype Crime Claims

David Meyer writes on ZDNet UK:

Eurojust, an EU agency that co-ordinates judicial co-operation across member states, has significally altered a statement in which it said criminals were using Skype to avoid detection by the authorities.

One week ago, Eurojust announced it planned to "play a key role in the coordination and cooperation of the investigations on the use of internet telephony systems (VoIP), such as Skype." The agency said its role would be to smooth out the technical and judicial obstacles to the interception of internet telephony systems, taking into account the various data protection rules and civil rights. Eurojust also said it had become involved at the request of the Italian anti-Mafia directorate.

"Skype's encryption system is a secret which the company refuses to share with the authorities," Eurojust's statement of last Friday read. "Investigators have become increasingly reliant on wiretaps in recent years. Customs and tax police in Milan have highlighted the Skype issue. They overheard a suspected cocaine trafficker telling an accomplice to switch to Skype in order to get details of a 2kg drug consignment."

Skype reacted strongly to that statement at the time, saying it remained "interested in working with Eurojust despite the fact that they chose not to contact us before issuing this inaccurate report".

On Wednesday, Eurojust issued an update to its original statement, which was entitled "Eurojust coordinates internet telephony investigations". The new statement, entitled "Eurojust will be requested to coordinate internet telephony investigations", makes it clear that the anti-Mafia directorate's request for judicial co-ordination has not yet been made formally.

More here.


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