Service providers who offer a service to customers with which they can send, receive, or spread information via an electronic network, can also be defined as an ‘electronic communications provider’. According to the Belgium Supreme Court, these service providers can be compelled to provide certain data upon request of a public prosecutor on the basis of article 46bis of the Belgium Criminal Procedure Code. The Court of Gent – who previously ruled differently in this case – therefore must rule again in this case.
Basically, the Belgium Supreme Court ruled indirectly that Yahoo can be considered an ‘electronic communication service provider’ and could be compelled by a Belgium public prosecutor to provide data on its customers. The final outcome of the case is not certain yet, but it seems to me that it might be very difficult for the Court of Gent to rule otherwise.