Skype to face Belgium criminal court after failure to hand over call data

The issue is whether Skype is subject to same rules as telecom companies

Apple, Google urge Obama to reject encryption back doors

Apple, Google urge Obama to reject encryption back doors

Skype will have to appear in a Belgian criminal court after ignoring a judge's order to give law enforcement officials access to data from calls between suspected criminals.

The criminal court in Mechelen, Belgium, will determine whether Voice over IP (VoIP) service Skype is a telecom operator, said court spokesman Theo Byl on Tuesday. The company was ordered to appear in court on June 10.

The case started about three years ago when an examining magistrate in Mechelen ordered Skype to give law enforcement officials access to data from Skype-to-Skype calls between two suspected Armenian criminals. Both of them were in Belgium when making the calls.

Under Belgian law, telecom operators are obliged to give law enforcement officials access to call data if ordered to do so by a judge. Refusing to do so is a criminal offense, said Byl, who added that Skype did not respond to the order by the Mechelen magistrate.

Both the examining magistrate and the public prosecutor's office consider Skype to be a telecom operator under Belgian law. That's why the public prosecutor's office summoned Skype to appear before the criminal court, said Byl, adding that the company could be ordered to hand over the data and could also face a fine.

Microsoft, which owns Skype, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Law enforcement officials throughout Europe can relatively easily obtain a court order to access data related to calls over land lines and mobile phones. Such orders for Internet services have been more elusive, however. Laws are not clear on whether electronic communications services are subject to the same wire-tapping and data access rules that cover traditional telecom providers.

Loek is Amsterdam Correspondent and covers online privacy, intellectual property, online payment issues as well as EU technology policy and regulation for the IDG News Service. Follow him on Twitter at @loekessers or email tips and comments to loek_essers@idg.com

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags Criminalskypelegal

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Loek Essers

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Armand Abogado

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

Wireless printing from my iPhone was also a handy feature, the whole experience was quick and seamless with no setup requirements - accessed through the default iOS printing menu options.

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?