Curated by: Luigi Canali De Rossi

Monday, October 17, 2005

Internet Access In Italy Now Requires A Passport

If you are thinking about visiting Italy in the near future, and you plan on using Italian Internet cafés while on the go, there is something you should definitely be informed about.

To access any Internet-connected computer inside a public service shop you now need to submit your passport and accept the idea that all that you will look at, play with or send out is being tracked for the purpose of supporting your safety against terror attacks.

Photo credit: Marcin Krawczyk

If you are fine with having your computer usage at an Internet café officially logged and then turned into the police for further analysis then you should probably be more than fine.

Most tourists who wander around a foreign city do not often carry their passports with them and can be heavily discouraged when they are asked to sign a security disclaimer stating that their online activity could be monitored and used against them.

But what really bothers me the most, and it is a major sign of how effective media propaganda and brain-numbing of the Italian average individual has recently been, is that despite the intrusion, inconvenience, and bad business caused by these new regulations, Italians seem to be widely untouched by such issue.



The Christian Science Monitor, has been reporting about this issue in a recent article entitled: "Want to check your e-mail in Italy? Bring your passport."

The new law states that those in charge of managing and providing public communications services, need to make photocopies of the passport of every customer coming to use them, be they Internet, phone or fax ones.
The law creates a difficult operational climate for the many Internet cafès operating in Italy, and many a owner do not find themselves at ease when needing to perform all of this extra paper work while intruding into the privacy of their walk-by customers.

The new law was passed right after the London bombings this summer, and part of the bulkiest antiterrorist law bundle adopted by Italy "since 9/11 and the country's subsequent support of the Iraq war".

"Though the legislation also includes measures to heighten transportation security, permit DNA collection, and facilitate the detention or deportation of suspects, average Italians are feeling its effect mainly in Internet cafes.

But while Italy has a healthy protest culture, no major opposition to the law has emerged."
Source: Sofia Celeste - Christian Science Monitor

Internet cafés owners must not only collect and verify a person first name and last name, but they need also to log the time they started using a computer, and which computer they specifically used. But that is not enough: computers in public places need also to keep track of which files and applications are used, which web pages are visited and for how long. In practice, anything you do today in an Italian Internet café is basically logged and referenced to your name on paper.

According to the Christian Science Monitor this also costs extra money to the cafés owners as I need to apply for an "upgraded" license and to adopt adequate tracking software to install on their computers.

"The software saves a list of all sites visited by clients, and Internet cafe operators must periodically turn this list into their local police headquarters."

One great away around the issue, but only if you are in Rome, is to access Rome's free wi-fi hot spots available within some of the most beautiful parks and historical places of the city.

Readers' Comments    
2010-01-08 23:23:32


Ciao, capo
I live in Italy, first of all, and so far, no one's had a big deal of the law itself. I have family in America that came to visit, and quite frankly, no one asked for their passports.

And second of all, you have a lot of nerve to call Italians brainwashed!

What kind of jackass are you, to make generalizations like that?

2007-10-30 07:23:51


I solved that problem with an italian prepaid SIM card. Got one by with 500 MB data package. The advantage: I could use my own laptop everywhere and the speed was good (almost like dsl).Besides that, all incoming calls from the US. where free!

2005-10-25 00:17:35


what?! my god!!! and they don´t even give me MY PASSPORT. Im living in Barcelona and I need it to work here. (I work at ). I´ve been waiting for 5 years to get my italian passport ...
anyways ...

2005-10-20 08:19:35


Yeah, something like this would be unheard of in the US, but it's not like this law is going to affect the italians themselves, so why should they really care?

I think that in Italy you also need to hand over your passport if you stay in a hotel. Isn't that just as bad?

posted by Robin Good on Monday, October 17 2005, updated on Tuesday, May 5 2015

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