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 newsletter!

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

Tags skypelegalCriminal

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

Cool Tech

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?