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Yahoo fined 55,000 in Belgium





Stubru Freak
Yahoo is fined 55,000 by a Belgian judge for refusal to cooperate in a cyber crime investigation. Yahoo refuses to hand over private data connected to e-mail addresses used in illegal activities, except to American authorities. They also have to pay 10,000 for every day they don't supply the data.

Yahoo says they're an American company and shouldn't comply with laws from other countries. The judge says that Yahoo, like any website, also operates in Belgium, so it should follow the Belgian laws.

What do you think?
ocalhoun
Given how laws vary from country to country, what if two countries laws contradicted each other, making it impossible to comply with both?

What is Belgium going to do if Yahoo just decides to ignore it and never pay the fines anyway? Ban Yahoo from operating in the country?
Stubru Freak
ocalhoun wrote:
Given how laws vary from country to country, what if two countries laws contradicted each other, making it impossible to comply with both?

What is Belgium going to do if Yahoo just decides to ignore it and never pay the fines anyway? Ban Yahoo from operating in the country?


It's indeed really complicated, that's why I brought it up.

I wouldn't like Yahoo to give my data to a dictatorship, for example. But on the other hand, this judicial district is the one next to mine, and I know they're not wasting their time on useless things, so I think Yahoo should give the data.

I'm not sure what Belgium will do if Yahoo ignores it, as far as I know we haven't ever banned any website (which is a good thing). I'm really curious how this will end.
deanhills
Stubru Freak wrote:
It's indeed really complicated, that's why I brought it up.

I wouldn't like Yahoo to give my data to a dictatorship, for example. But on the other hand, this judicial district is the one next to mine, and I know they're not wasting their time on useless things, so I think Yahoo should give the data.


I think it is admirable what Yahoo did. For example where would you draw the line if you would think it is OK to give data in one case and not in another? It may not just end with this time, and it may well be the case that the data they give would appear on a list of data that may affect other account holders as well.

Furthermore, I think when we sign for the account there is an undertaking by Yahoo not to release our information, so there could be a liability issue here too.

The so called "free" countries are getting so much into the electronic accounts of their citizens, I am becoming to wonder just how free we really are anymore. If we apply for banking accounts we have to virtually apply in triplicate, and even then I feel my money belongs more to the bank than me by all the hoops I have to go through to ask for simple things, and on top of everything else I am PAYING the bank for the use of my money. I feel much freer where I am in a dictatorship than I feel in Canada, although at least in Canada there are people who are aware of this going on, and who at least are protesting the indiscriminate use of people's private and confidential data.
Afaceinthematrix
And how in the Hell does Belgium think they're going the enforce this law? It's ridiculous. Yahoo! is an American company and therefore must adhere to American laws. I think quite a few people would be angry if the reverse happened and American judges fined Belgium citizens for their business practices. It's ridiculous anyways... there's no way to enforce it. I suppose that Belgium might find a way to ban Yahoo! in their country by forcing internet providers to block the site... but then that would probably anger their citizens because of how many people use Yahoo! on a daily bases for email and such...
deanhills
Afaceinthematrix wrote:
And how in the Hell does Belgium think they're going the enforce this law? It's ridiculous. Yahoo! is an American company and therefore must adhere to American laws. I think quite a few people would be angry if the reverse happened and American judges fined Belgium citizens for their business practices. It's ridiculous anyways... there's no way to enforce it. I suppose that Belgium might find a way to ban Yahoo! in their country by forcing internet providers to block the site... but then that would probably anger their citizens because of how many people use Yahoo! on a daily bases for email and such...


Thanks Afaceinthematrix. This has made me feel really good. My feelings exactly. I've been with Yahoo since its very beginning, which is quite a very long time ago, and it sounds pretty arrogant to me too. By which law will Belgium enforce its penalties. I think Ocalhoun asked that too.
Stubru Freak
I also wonder how they are going to enforce this fine. I don't think Yahoo will be censored, AFAIK that's impossible under the Belgian law (I certainly hope so). Google was involved in a Belgian court case once, and they enforced that using the google.be domain name, but yahoo.be doesn't even exist.

Still Yahoo seems to be taking this very seriously, and they have asked the US government for help.

There's a 'mutual legal assistance treaty' between the US and Belgium that could've been used to get this information. But the judge believes that treaty isn't necessary, because Yahoo is also a Belgian company, because it also "operates" in Belgium. A lot of judges don't really seem to understand the internet.

Still I think Yahoo should've just given the information (like e.g. Google and Microsoft did in the past), but I think the fine is wrong. If Yahoo refuses, they should've asked the Americans to get it.
deanhills
Stubru Freak wrote:
but I think the fine is wrong. If Yahoo refuses, they should've asked the Americans to get it.

Right. It was a very arrogant request from the Belgian judges and possibly a slap in the face of the US. Can just imagine someone sending an army of hackers to Belgium Wink
vineeth
Why can't Belgian Govt. use diplomatic routes to get the information they want? Isn't this the better and non-complicated way to get things done?

Here in India, Govt. asked all major free email service providers to start offices in India and get registered as a company here. They are also asked to set up servers in India itself so that such issues are resolved to a great extent.

Till date, Google, Yahoo and MSN has Indian websites.
Stubru Freak
Common practice is to ask for the data, and e.g. Microsoft and Google just gave it, without making any problems. But Yahoo didn't. I believe they should've used the diplomatic routes after that (there is a treaty so it shouldn't be a problem), but instead they started a law suit.
deanhills
vineeth wrote:
Here in India, Govt. asked all major free email service providers to start offices in India and get registered as a company here. They are also asked to set up servers in India itself so that such issues are resolved to a great extent.

I always get paranoid when I hear about Government interest in anything. Do you know what the conditions of registration are?
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