In one of the strangest arrests of the year, at least five bar and cafe owners from the French city of Grenoble were detained last week for operating public WiFi networks at their premises and for not keeping logs of previous users who had logged in to network.
Bar and cafe owners have been arrested for allegedly violating a 14-year-old French law that requires all ISPs to keep logs of all their users for at least a year.
According to local media, the owners of the bars and cafes claimed that they did not know that there was such a law and that it was still valid, let alone that it concerned them as they had not received information from their union, which usually sends them notices of the legal requirements required throughout the industry.
However, the French media pointed out that the law does not only apply to Internet Service Providers (ISPs) in the broadest sense of the word - as well as to providers telecommunications - but also to any "person" who provides internet access either free of charge or through networks protected by password.
The owners of the bars and cafes were finally released after being questioned by the authorities.
According to French law no. 2006-64, risk up to one year imprisonment, personal fine up to 75.000 euros and professional fine up to 375.000 euros.
Connection logging is a feature that is supported in most businesses routers and has been added for this specific reason, as countries around the world have begun to introduce registration laws data for locals ISP their.
Law enforcement often relies on these logs to detect malicious behavior or details of suspects using public WiFi networks to commit crimes.