back to article Germany loosens liability laws to promote WiFi hotspots

Germany has signalled it will ease laws that make it hard for local organisations to operate public WiFi hotspots. Current laws in the Bundesrepublik make hotspot operators liable for their users' activities. Fearing they'll be held accountable for copyright infringement or other offences, Germany's cafes, hotels, airport, …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Stupid liability law, are Deutsche Post liable for what someone sends in a parcel or Deutsche Telekom liable for what people say over the telephone ?

    1. daemonoid

      It's not really true either. I live on the border so often pop into Germany for shopping or a beer. There's wifi everywhere. The liability law only requires them to take reasonable steps - so a filter and a personalised signup process (normally one that texts you a code).

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "personalised signup process"

        This is still a massive inconvenience to any cafe, etc, as to be at all useful you then need to keep records of all users, etc, in case plod (or more likely MPAA goons) come knocking.

        1. big_D Silver badge

          Re: "personalised signup process"

          That was the point. A lot of places had outsourced their wifi, because they had to keep a record of who did what and when. If the police turned up and said "on 15.09 at 10:12 somebody downloaded child pr0n" and you couldn't prove who had done it, you were liable and would face prosecution.

          That said, there are enough wifi spots and internet cafés around. But this should make the barrier to entry a lot lower.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: "personalised signup process"

          In the UK I had a call from EE asking about our public WiFi and wanted to take over our contract (we don't have a contract we provide it ourselves FoC on a 1Gbs line). The lady went on to say that without customer authentication we would be liable and therefore we should let EE take over the WiFi.

          When I mentioned to her there was no liability in the UK for such a thing and asked her how many prosecutions there had been for business liability for user's illegal access, she went a bit sheepish.

          I then told her that it was a bit disingenuous to be scaremongering businesses when for most there is no issue.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: "personalised signup process"

            That's EE for you, a shower of shit.

  2. Slx

    Those steps really require a lot of infrastructure.

    Wifi elsewhere, especially in cafes and small venues is often just a normal cable, fibre or DSL router with a single password that they might change once in a while.

    All that law is likely to do is create a captive market for expensive conmercial wifi providers who'll want your credit card info before you'll be able to access anything.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    As others have already said, there is plenty of free public WiFi everywhere in Germany, as you would expect, and it's no hassle at all to access.

    If you are looking for public WiFi barren landscapes, then Spain, Italy, and France are more like the places you want. At best in Spain you will get password-secured WiFi (I find it a bit of a hassle asking for the password, though I understand they do it to stop the neighbours freeriding on it), in Italy some regions are well-served while others are a throwback to the 00's. France being France, many places don't have WiFi at all, and the ones that do often are the "code via SMS" type which does not always work with foreign numbers.

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019