Bar, restaurant and café operators could find their internet services withdrawn as a result of the new laws in the Digital Economy Bill, which was given Royal Assent last week. The Bill, which was hurried through the legislative process in the end of parliament “wash up”, means that internet service providers could be forced to disconnect anyone suspected of downloading material that infringed copyright. It means that hospitality companies such as bar and restaurant operators that offer customers free wireless connections could have their internet services suspended, because of the actions of one individual. Michael O’Halloran, a partner at Stevensdrake solicitors and an expert in digital media law, told the Caterer magazine: “If you are operating a wireless connection you have absolutely no control over what people are doing with that connection. Under the terms of the Digital Economy Bill, that means you could find yourself having your internet connection cut off. It is a very real scenario.” JD Wetherspoon, the pub operator, offers free wireless connections at all of its 750 pubs. Spokesman Eddie Gershon said: “Wetherspoon pubs are visited by hundreds of thousands of people each week, and a large percentage of them use Wi-Fi. It would be impossible to police what people are searching on their computer. We don’t have the manpower, nor would we want to go up to someone’s computer and peek over it.” The exact sanctions that hospitality groups will be determined after a 10-week consultation led by Ofcom. The British Hospitality Association urged operators to use the consultation period to put forward their concerns.