We keep harping on about this new Digital Economy Bill, but there’s other legislation as well that you must adhere to when offering WiFi or internet services at your venue. We help you better understand why we keep on about the laws, we’ve listed the relevant sections below:
Relevant law and regulation includes: The European Directive (2006/24/EC) which has been implemented in the UK under the Data Retention (EC Directive) Regulations 2009 and the January 2004 the Code of Practice (for voluntary retention of communications data) implemented under the Anti-Terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001.
Under the above, certain types of data are required to be retained necessary to identify end users accessing the internet. The type of data to be retained is traffic data and location data which can trace the source of a communication. Examples of relevant data include:
User ID; name and address; date and time of login and log off; IP address allocated to a user; the digital subscriber line (DSL) or other end point of the originator of the communication; the internet service used (“communications data”). The communications data required to be retained is data which typically shows the “who”, “when”, “where” and “how” of a communication. The Home Office would expect such data to be retained for a period of 12 months. As a matter of best practice, an establishment should have in place facilities to store and access communications data for a period of 12 months from the date of the data coming into existence. The purpose of maintaining communications data is to assist intelligence and law enforcement agencies such as the police in their investigation of criminal and terrorist activities.
In practice intelligence and law enforcement agencies will request communications data from whoever is best place to provide the data. This would include holiday parks and similar establishments in cases where hotels offer internet access to their guests and residents.
Law enforcement requests for information
Under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000, intelligence and law enforcement agencies such as the police can direct that communications data be provided for the purposes of investigation of crime. It is therefore very important that any communications data that the police or other law enforcement agency may require is stored and capable of being accessed upon receipt of a valid request for the data.
Under the Data Protection Act 1998 any user of internet access services in a holiday park or similar establishment is entitled to request at any time details of his/her personal information held by the establishment. Failure to securely maintain and make available data to a data subject (e.g. guest, visitor or holiday home owner) is an offence and may lead to the imposition of fines by the Information Commissioner.
The Government has now passed the Digital Economy Bill which is designed to implement steps to reduce online copyright infringement by end users. The Bill will cover illegal downloading of copyrighted material and illegal file sharing. The Bill came into law in June 2010 and prescribes obligations to keep end user records to assist copyright owners in identifying, and taking action.
See, offering internet HotSpot services to your customers isn’t as easy as sticking your WiFi router at you window and hoping for the best as some of our competition seem to think. For a friendly discussion on how to avoid falling foul of the law why not give us a call. Go on, we’ll pop the kettle on – you get the biscuits. Call Ashley on 01925 611 061
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