News In Focus
Concern over internet use proposals
New anti-terror laws will mean that small businesses such as café owners who offer a free internet service will need to keep records of all of their customers and which websites they use, according to an article in today’s Scotsman.
The new law, due to come into force in March 2009, will implement an EU directive requiring member states to keep data on both telephone services and internet access. Major service providers such as BT and Virgin will need to keep information for between six and 24 months.
Anyone who allows internet access to customers - for example hotels, pubs or public libraries - will need to be able to identify those using the service and the websites they visit.
Critics say this will mean installing equipment which could be prohibitively expensive to small businesses, and that the law is likely only to cause inconvenience to innocent members of the public because terrorists will find ways to circumvent the restrictions.
Concerns have also been raised over erosion of civil liberties and the right to privacy, and how the law can be policed.