Five bar owners in France have been arrested in Grenoble for offering public WiFi without keeping connection logs and spying on its users. The owners claimed they were not aware of the anti-privacy law that came into effect in 2006.
All establishments offering public WiFi in France are required to keep logs. The traditional ISP logging rule was extended “to all persons who, in respect of any activity primary or secondary professional, offer the public a connection allowing on-line communication via network access, including free of charge” in 2006.
Shockingly, café and bar owners found in violation of the law, No. 2006-64, face a maximum of one year in prison and a maximum fine of €75,000.
According to BFM Business, logging WiFi connection is not difficult considering most hotels, and other public places such as airports have WiFi packages that feature connection logging. However, the bar owners arrested claimed that they were not aware such a law exists.
In fact, one of the bar owners claimed that not even Umih, an organization that trains and certifies hoteliers in France, mentioned the existence of such a law.
“Nobody, not even the professionals of Umih who provide compulsory training as part of a license IV resumption, to me never said I should keep this history,” the bar owner said.
Umih acknowledged that awareness of the law was not part of its training. However, the organization said that the requirement is mentioned in its newsletters.
Whether restaurants are aware of the law or not, it does not change the fact that the law is a testament to the infringement of privacy by the French government. The existence of the law means that the public should avoid using public WiFi and or use a VPN.