The party that before seizing power promised to reject the famous LSSI-CE or “internet law” has now set its sight on expanding the law to please the influential lobby of committed artists –committed to spending everyone else’s money that is. These artists went so far as to compare the worldwide web to a tsunami, exploiting the suffering of South East Asia for their own gain. The biggest problem with the law’s text is that it requires service providers (ISPs) to save traffic data for six months (not yet enacted) raising costs. As usual, users will get stuck footing the bill. The intention is make intermediaries, read Internet service providers, responsible for the music and movies people download.
The potential consequences of this socialist, in the most Cuban sense of the word, bill lie in forcing companies to pay for this surveillance, essentially having to spy on their users to comply with the law, and, later to meet the higher costs, raise access fees. No, this is not a typo; Telefonica and its ilk would be obliged to spy on us to comply with the law. They would have to place sniffers, small applications designed to watch, from wherever they are installed, for specific data throughout your computer infrastructure and on the web. Their alarms go off when users do something suspicious like download songs from a legal service. ISPs would also restrict users’ connection characteristics to try to stop us from possibly downloading the songs in the first place.
Not even the United States, where the entertainment lobbies have made the most headway, has anything resembling these rules. In fact, the controversial Patriot Act actually limits sniffers to protect the privacy of users not under investigation. The FBI even created its own sniffer called Carnivore because commercial ones captured too much data from other users. The retired it only after the market designed tools able to sufficiently respect user privacy.
Once we are conveniently under surveillance, the infrastructure needed to extend that surveillance will already be installed on the Spanish Internet. Not all totalitarian countries can boast of having such easy control over what is said and what is done on the Internet. We can assume that, in the end, the fundamental right to private communication guaranteed in our Constitution, the LSSI relieving intermediaries of responsibility and the directive this law is based on will win the day. But we’ve seen where they want to take us, we’ve seen their intentions.