Privacy Blog

"Friends don’t let friends get spied on.' – Richard Stallman, President of the Free Software Foundation and longtime advocate of privacy in technology.

Police Decrypt 258,000 Messages After Breaking IronChat Crypto App

Your public servants at work: spying on you.

Police in the Netherlands said they decrypted more than 258,000 messages sent using IronChat, an app billed as providing end-to-end encryption that was endorsed by National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden. In a statement published Tuesday, Dutch police said officers achieved a “breakthrough in the interception and decryption of encrypted communication” in an investigation into money laundering. The encrypted messages, according to the statement, were sent by IronChat, an app that runs on a device that cost thousands of dollars and could send only text messages.

“Criminals thought they could safely communicate with so-called crypto phones which used the application IronChat,” Tuesday’s statement said. “Police experts in the east of the Netherlands have succeeded in gaining access to this communication. As a result, the police have been able to watch live the communication between criminals for some time.”

Details may be found at:

Of course, the announcement stresses the claim that police were able to monitor the communications of criminals. The item that is curiously missing from the announcement is the number of innocent private citizens who also had their legal and non-threatening communications monitored.

Luckily, the IronChat software only runs on IronPhones, very expensive cell phones designed for privacy. At these exorbitant prices, it is unlikely that many private citizens were using IronPhones. Instead, we can assume that most of the spying targeted business professionals, celebrities, sports stars, politicians, senior military officers, and other public figures.

Categories: Cell Phones, Encryption, Telephone Security

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