HomeWinBuzzer NewsEuropol Reports Encryption in Home Routing Hampers Investigations

Europol Reports Encryption in Home Routing Hampers Investigations

Europol says encrypted Home Routing hurts crime investigations. They propose either disabling encryption or a faster info-sharing system.


Europol reports that encrypted Home Routing technologies significantly hinder law enforcement agencies from intercepting communications during criminal investigations. The agency has offered potential solutions to address these obstacles.

Understanding Home Routing and Privacy Technologies

Home Routing allows telecom users to direct their traffic through their home networks while abroad. When privacy-enhancing technologies (PET) are used, data is encrypted at the service level with session-based keys exchanged between the subscriber's device and the home network provider. This makes the encrypted data inaccessible to visiting networks and complicates legal interception for local authorities.

Europol points out that suspects using foreign SIM cards can avoid interception due to Home Routing with PET. This happens both when foreign nationals use their SIM cards in another country and when residents use foreign SIM cards domestically. Consequently, law enforcement often has to rely on the voluntary cooperation of foreign service providers or issue a European Investigation Order (EIO), which could take up to four months.

Proposed Solutions by Europol

To tackle these issues, Europol proposes two main solutions. The first is implementing an EU to turn off PET in Home Routing, enabling domestic service providers to intercept communications from those using foreign SIM cards without involving foreign entities. This solution is deemed technically feasible and straightforward to enact.

The second proposal suggests a cross-border mechanism within the EU. Law enforcement would issue interception requests quickly processed by service providers in other member states. This method allows PET to stay enabled but requires sharing information about persons of interest with foreign service providers, raising potential privacy concerns.

Impact on Investigations and Future Steps

Europol highlights that these solutions aim to maintain and improve current investigatory capabilities affected by Home Routing. Collaboration among national authorities, legislative bodies, and telecom providers is necessary to find effective strategies for these challenges.

The report calls for a balanced approach to preserving privacy protections while enabling law enforcement to effectively gather evidence. The proposed solutions seek to streamline the process of lawful interception, reducing delays and procedural impediments currently faced in investigations.

Luke Jones
Luke Jones
Luke has been writing about all things tech for more than five years. He is following Microsoft closely to bring you the latest news about Windows, Office, Azure, Skype, HoloLens and all the rest of their products.