Defending the rights of accused people: a case study on phone hacking and encrypted messages from EncroChat, the UK and Germany
Across Europe, legal challenges are building up. In many countries, courts have ruled that messages from EncroChat can be used as evidence. However, these decisions are now being disputed. Each country has its own rules for the types of evidence that can be used and processes that prosecutors need to follow in order to try a case. The UK doesn’t allow “intercepted” evidence to be used in court and Germany has a high bar for allowing malicious software to be installed on a phone.
Even bad people have rights because of our rule of law, says Ldden. We don’t defend criminals or defend crimes. We are defending the rights of accused people.”
Encrochat shut down after a hacking: Britta Eder, a defense lawyer, and the next step in police trying to get rid of Gotham tools
The phone network was hacked, but the Encrochat server in Roubaix, France, was compromised and subsequently pushed with a variety of malicious software. More than 30,000 users of Encrochat were affected by the hacking, and it wasn’t known how the hacker got into the system. The documents were obtained by the company and showed that the phones’ data could be accessed by investigators. This data was shared between law enforcement agencies involved in the investigation. After a hack, the company claimed it was a legitimate company and shut itself down.
Britta Eder’s list of phone contacts is full of people the German state considers to be criminals. Anti-fascists, people who campaign against nuclear power, and members of the PKK are some of the people on her client list as a defense lawyer.
She used to be careful on the phone for her clients. She says she thinks she’s not alone when she talks on the phone. That self-consciousness even extends to phone calls with her mother.
The decision did not ban Palantir’s Gotham tool but limited the way police can use it. The head of legal for the Berlin based Society for Civil Rights (GFF) says that the risk of Eber being flagged or having her data processed by Palantir will now be reduced.
“I thought, this is the next step in police trying to get more possibilities to observe people without any concrete evidence linking them to a crime,” Eder says. She decided to become one of the 11 people trying to have the law thrown out. Yesterday, they succeeded.