Is Skype a Telephone Operator? France to Investigate

French regulators said Tuesday that they had asked prosecutors to investigate Microsoft’s Skype unit over its failure to register as a telecommunications operator in accordance with local law, raising the question of what constitutes a telephone company in the age of Internet-based communications.The regulator, known by its French acronym Arcep, said that it had, “on several occasions,” asked Skype Communications, which is based in Luxembourg, “to declare itself an electronic communications operator,” and that the company had not acted. see:France pushes for controls on Skype calls
French prosecutors have been asked to investigate Microsoft’s Skype because of its failure to register in the country as a telecoms operator, in the latest attempt by France to control the activities of global internet companies.In a statement on Tuesday, the telecoms regulator Arcep said that it had contacted the Paris public prosecutor after the instant messenger group ignored “several requests to declare itself as an electronic communications operator”. says Skype could face prosecution for failure to register as a telecom
French regulators have said Skype could face prosecution for failing to register as an “electronic communications operator” with France’s telecom regulator. The agency, known by its French acronym ARCEP, wrote in an English-language statement on Tuesday that “failure to comply with this obligation does, however, constitute a criminal offense.”Being an operator that provides telecom services to the public “also implies compliance with certain obligations, which include the routing of emergency calls and implementing the means required to perform legally ordered [wiretap] interceptions,” according to ARCEP. Regulator Says Skype Must Register As a Telco Or Risk Prosecution [IDG]
The French Telecommunications and Posts Regulator, ARCEP, has referred Skype to the Paris public prosecutor, asking it to investigate whether Skype has failed to comply with an obligation to register as a telecommunications operator. Registered operators must provide emergency calling services and allow for lawful interception of communications.Skype’s PC-to-PC voice and video calls over the Internet aren’t at issue here, but the French regulator is taking a keen interest in the Skype Out service, which allows users in France (and elsewhere) to use their PC or smartphone to call numbers on the public-switched telephone network in France and other countries. In the regulator’s view, that service would appear to be an electronic communications service in the eyes of the law, it said Tuesday.

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