The American company Yahoo has finally been charged for refusing to help the Belgian police. The firm had refused to give data to the prosecutor in Termonde. The company “provides email services in Belgium, is involved in the (local) economy, and must comply with Belgian legislation,” ruled the Court of Cassation, according the daily De Standaard on Wednesday.
The facts date back to 2007 when the Termonde prosecutor asked Yahoo for information whilst investigating a case of online fraud through a Yahoo email address. The company refused to give the IP address to investigators because it said the request should be made via an international request for legal assistance. Yahoo decided American legislation applied to them. In the end, Yahoo was sentenced by the courts in Termonde in 2009. The case ended up at the Appeals Courts in Ghent, Brussels, and Antwerp, following alternating appeals by both Yahoo and the public prosecutor and judgments quashed by the Court of Cassation, which eventually confirmed the ruling by Antwerp’s Appeals Court condemning Yahoo. The 44,000-euro fine for non-cooperation is therefore still applicable.