by Valentina Pop
20 February 2009
EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS
EU's judicial cooperation agency
Eurojust will take
the lead in finding ways to help police and prosecutors across Europe to
wiretap computer-to-computer phone conversations enabled by programs such as
"We will sit together with all member states to see how this can be done
technically and legally," Joannes Thuy, Eurojust spokesman told this
The EU wants to eavesdrop internet calls.
(Photo: European Commission)
Mr Thuy stressed that the wiretapping would not affect "normal users", but
would have to be carried out only as part of a criminal investigation.
Eurojust's talks with prosecutors and police officials from member states,
as well as legal experts would be led by Italian prosecutor Carmen Manfreda.
"There are 30 different legal systems all across the EU, so we expect the
talks to take several months before first results are presented," Mr Thuy
Skype, a Danish-Swedish business developed by Estonian programmers that was
sold to E-Bay in 2005 and has over 350 million customers worldwide, is said
to be un-spyable by intelligence services.
In its press release, Eurojust says that,
"Skype has so far refused to share
its encryption system with national authorities."
However, Skype claims that it has,
"extensively debriefed Eurojust on our law
enforcement program and capabilities."
"Skype cooperates with law enforcement where legally and technically
possible. Skype remains interested in working with Eurojust despite the fact
that they chose not to contact us before issuing this inaccurate report,"
Brian O'Shaughnessy, head of corporate communications at Skype said in a
The Italian anti-mafia prosecutors requested Eurojust to coordinate this
initiative, pointing that criminals in Italy were increasingly making phone
calls over the internet in order to avoid getting caught through mobile
Bavarian authorities allegedly also attempted to wiretap Skype conversations
and commissioned an IT firm to do this, but were not successful, according
to documents obtained by
Piraten Party, a movement promoting Internet
According to Eurojust, customs and tax police in Milan have overheard a
suspected cocaine trafficker telling an accomplice to switch to Skype in
order to get details of a 2kg drug consignment.