Europol and the European Commission inaugurate new decryption platform to tackle the challenge of encrypted material for law enforcement investigations

18 December 2020
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This week Europol launched an innovative decryption platform, developed in close cooperation with the European Commission's Joint Research Centre. It will significantly increase Europol’s capability to decrypt information lawfully obtained in criminal investigations.

The launch of the new decryption platform marks a milestone in the fight against organised crime and terrorism in Europe. In full respect of fundamental rights and without limiting or weakening encryption, this initiative will be available to national law enforcement authorities of all Member States to help keep societies and citizens safe and secure. A virtual inauguration ceremony brought together senior representatives from Europol, the European Parliament, the Council of the EU and the Commission.

The event highlighted strong organisational cooperation within the EU and the considerable potential in innovation, research and development of the EU innovation hub for internal security.

Ylva Johansson, EU Commissioner for Home Affairs said:

This decryption platform will help police to investigate terrorism and serious and organised criminality. It will be important in the fight against online child sexual abuse. National police forces can now send lawfully obtained evidence to Europol for decryption.

Addressing the event, Europol’s Executive Director Catherine De Bolle said:

Today marks the end of a three-year-long journey. We have made a significant step forward in combating the criminal abuse of encryption with the aim of keeping our society and citizens safe while fully respecting fundamental rights. The new Europol Decryption Platform, funded by the European Commission, will allow us to further enhance our support for Member State investigations. This is the result of successful inter-organisational collaboration within the EU and shows the potential for further joint work and support for the EU innovation hub for internal security. I would like to express my gratitude to the Joint Research Centre for their strong partnership in this project.

Europol’s European Cybercrime Centre (EC3) will operate the platform and leverage its in-house expertise in providing the most effective support to national Member State investigations.
EC3 is dedicated to strengthening the law enforcement response to cybercrime in the EU and focuses on cybercrime committed by organised crime groups, which generate large profits (online fraud), seriously harm victims (online child sexual exploitation) or impact critical infrastructure and information systems in the EU, including through cyber-attacks.

Headquartered in The Hague, the Netherlands, Europol supports the 27 EU Member States in their fight against terrorism, cybercrime and other serious and organised forms of crime. We also work with many non-EU partner states and international organisations. From its various threat assessments to its intelligence-gathering and operational activities, Europol has the tools and resources it needs to do its part in making Europe safer.