In a huge sting operation, the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Australian Federal Police (AFP) ran an “encrypted chat” service called ANoM for almost 3 years to intercept 27 million messages between criminal gang members globally.
Dubbed Operation Ironside (AFP), Operation Greenlight (Europol), and Operation Trojan Shield (FBI), the long-term covert probe into transnational and serious organized crime culminated in the arrests of 224 offenders on 526 charges in Australia, with 55 luxury vehicles, eight tons of cocaine, 22 tons of cannabis and cannabis resin, 250 firearms, and more than $48 million in various currencies and cryptocurrencies seized in raids around the world.
A total of more than 800 arrests have been reported across 18 countries, including New Zealand, Germany, and Sweden. Europol called it the “biggest ever law enforcement operation against encrypted communication.”
The communications allegedly involved plots to kill, mass drug trafficking, and gun distribution, according to the AFP. Access to these encrypted messages was gained lawfully through using the Telecommunications and Other Legislation Amendment (Assistance and Access) Act 2018, the…