Europol in the Netherlands announced a new addition to the crime fighting taskforce. The employee, a commissioner with a background in intelligence work with the Stockholm police, was enlisted to help fight crime on the darknet.
The article announcing the new role spoke of the unique position Ericsson would be playing. Europol had been facing an influx of terrorism-related crime and with the long hours and overworked staff, some issues went unattended for far too long. Europol hoped Ericsson would fill the gap and become a liaison between fighting terrorism and darknet crimes.
So far Ericsson has not faced any rivalry between agencies and countries, a source wrote. Europol consists of 28 member states but the source said there is very little miscommunication or animosity between the entities. “It is a pleasant and easy environment to work in, everyone is motivated. I really believe in this idea. I think it is the future,” he said.
A reporter said Ericsson’s ordinary work day would involve case files consisting of drug crimes, weapon smuggling, or even mass weapon theft.
Ericsson explained the need for the role he filled as a Swedish Liaison Officer:
The criminals exploit new technical possibilities. They change countries, means of transport and communication. To get a handle on gangs, we must be active, sit near each other and have the phone on. Europol supports us as a Member State. Based on what we receive support in arguably the staff is very competent in different parts of Europe.
While Europol as a whole, he explained, was focused on the grand scheme of things, the direction of crime is changing. Many criminals have turned to the darknet, making it difficult for Europol to track with conventional methods.
Having 26 member states makes fighting crime much easier, he continued. One state can monitor theft and another can monitor smuggling. No member state, until Ericsson, had a liaison between cooperating states and darknet crime.
He described Europol’s headquarters as Europe’s safest building, making an analogy between the building and the darknet. The building is surrounded by tinted glass walls, roadblocks, and security cameras, he explained. Thorough checks of both luggage and people are conducted on every visit. “You go through the locks, where one door closes before the other opens, he said.”
Europol has been aware of the darknet for some time now. They organized and headquartered “Operation Daylight” that netted 75 arrests of darknet child pornography site members.
Tine Hollevoet, a spokesman for Europol, told the media that “Europol received the information [the aforementioned site] in June 2015 from the Swiss authorities and disseminated intelligence packages in July 2015. Based on that intelligence, separate investigations were initiated in the concerned countries.”
Operation Daylight created 206 open cases spanning 25 countries.
Furthermore, Europol had been deeply involved in the ongoing debate on whether bitcoin, via the darknet, played any role in terrorism. Their initial studies showed that Bitcoin made no difference on terrorism. Later on, Europol joined forces with INTERPOL in a fight against Bitcoin money laundering—with a focus on terrorism and the darknet.