Under new public security laws working their way through the Spanish parliament, anybody wishing to use a public internet terminal, such as in a bar, shop or cybercafé, would have to provide identification papers, and the business record the details for submission to the authorities.

The new Orgánica de Protección de la Seguridad Ciudadana, is set to modify the laws introduced by the socialist government in 1992, based on the significant changes that telecommunications and internet services have undergone in the last 22 years.

In the original draft, approved in November of last year by the cabinet, is now heading towards its final stages of becoming law.

Although legislation was already in place for controlling identity to those who access the internet, cybercafés and the likes were not included in the legislation before this reform. Now, companies who fail to adequately document the details of those who use their services, could face fines of between 1,001 euro and 30,000 euro, as it would be classed as a serious administrative offence.

Under the new law, the owners of these businesses will be required to photocopy or scan the ID of a client or an equivalent document and store that information so it can be accessed at any time by the competent administrative authorities, such as the Ministry of Interior, Government delegations or the security services.

The users of the internet services are not mentioned directly by the law, with the responsibility clearly given to the business owners, but it will also be a consideration that shops can prohibit access to their internet connections to those customers who have not shown their ID.

However, on element that has been dropped by the latest draft involved the requirement for any user of public wifi networks to also provide identifying data. In the original draft, this was also set to become mandatory, but has been removed on the recommendation of the Ministry of industry, Trade and Tourism.

Data protection issues have now been raised as to what businesses do with the information collated, with the next stage of the legislation being the discussion and review of elements brought into question, although the requirement to provide the data is believed to be one part which the government are not prepared to negotiate on.

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