Skype to face criminal investigation in France

Skype to face criminal investigation in France
Screengrab of Skype login
France's telecommunications monitor Arcep said on Tuesday it had asked prosecutors to launch a probe into Microsoft subsidiary Skype for failing to register as a telecommunications firm, despite several reminders.

Under French law, a telecommunications operator does not need administrative authorization but only has to make a "prior declaration," Arcep said. However failure to comply with the law is a criminal offence.

Arcep said it had asked Skype to declare itself "an electronic communications operator" but it had failed to do so.

An Arcep statement said Skype should register as a telecommunications service as it provided "French Internet users with services that allow them to make phone calls to or from a device connected to the Internet… in France or elsewhere in the world."

As a regular telecoms service provider, Skype would have to undertake certain obligations, including routing emergency calls and allow legal wire-tapping.

The latest move comes at a bad time for Microsoft. The European Union fined the American giant €561 million earlier this month for failing to provide customers with a choice of Internet browser, as promised.

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