updated 07:05 pm EST, Mon January 2, 2012
Malaysia requires public Wi-Fi in restaurants
Residents of Belarus are reportedly facing a new law that bars attempts to access foreign websites. The new regulations also threaten to impose fines for Internet cafes, public Wi-Fi providers and individuals that share connections if they do not identify users who violate the law and submit the data to authorities. Separate reports suggest the government of Malaysia's capital Kuala Lumpur has taken a contrasting approach, requiring restaurants all restaurants to offer Wi-Fi to customers.
The Belarus law bans all companies and small business owners from using foreign Internet domains for services or e-mail communication, according to details posted by the Law Library of Congress.
The tight regulations are said to be an attempt to censor certain material, blocking access to pornography and extremist websites, while also forcing users to make purchases within the country rather than avoiding taxes by buying from international retailers such as Amazon.
In Kuala Lumpur, the government is preparing to enforce new laws that are designed to expand public Internet access rather than censor it. All restaurants, bars, club lounges and cafes that meet a minimum floor area will be required to offer Wi-Fi connections for free or for a "reasonable fee," according to the New Straits Times. The move comes as the city shutters its own free Wi-Fi service, however, which included over 1500 hotspots.
The Belarus law will go into effect on January 6, while the Kuala Lumpur regulations apply to businesses as they apply for new licenses or renew existing licenses.