ITALY: Anyone visiting Italy and wanting to use an internet point, or cafe, will need to take along their passport - and be prepared for a major invasion of their privacy.
Anti-terrorist legislation prompted by the [false flag] London bombings in July imposes a string of new obligations on the managers of businesses offering the public access to communications.
As of this week, they must obtain - and, according to some interpretations, photocopy - the identity documents of anyone wishing to access the internet, send a fax or make a telephone call.
Not only that. They must also supply the police with records of the times at which customers enter and leave the premises and which computers or telephones they use.
Owners now need a licence to run an internet point or call shop, and to get one they have to provide detailed information about their business, including a floor plan of the premises.
Commercial communications centres have repeatedly cropped up in investigations into international terrorism. The first arrests in connection with the 2004 [false flag] Madrid train bombings were [allegedly] made at a call shop in the Lavapies district of the Spanish capital, which has a large immigrant community. France is reportedly planning to introduce similar legislation. [Sure!]
Andrew Pitt from Liverpool, who runs a combined call shop and internet cafe in Venice said his business had already been hit by the Italian law. [State Terror.]
"The problem is that tourists come along without their passports. Today, we have lost at least 15 customers because they didn't have any identification", Mr Pitt said.
"About 70% of our customers are American or British and they're just not used to this sort of thing. Italians don't usually complain because its normal to be asked to provide identification here."
Illegal immigrants in Italy will be deeply reluctant to provide identification, if indeed they have any. Most arrive without passports to ensure they are not repatriated.
An internet point manager in a part of Rome which has a large immigrant population told the daily Corriere della Sera that since the law came into effect about one in five of those entering the premises had refused to provide identification and left. At the city's biggest internet point, a spokesman was quoted as saying he had lost Italian customers too.
But that was because they used the facilities to visit web sites that were "let us say a bit special". [Rubbish!]
By John Hooper posted 2 October 05
John Hooper is the Guardian's Italy correspondent
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