A law being debated in Spain's Congress has sparked fears that civil servants may be giving themselves too much power over internet content.
The LSSI Bill (La Ley de Servicios de la Sociedad de la Información y de Comercio Electrónico) allows a "competent administrative authority" in government to shut down websites unilaterally, a power that currently requires court approval.
Victor Domingo, president of La Asociación de Internautas (Net Surfers Association), said that lobbying had led to positive changes in the law.
The problem is that, unlike UK law, Spain does not allow for the setting of legal precedents, so each case must specifically spell out how the law will be applied in a new context.
"In Spain, the power of the telephone companies and the internet service providers [ISPs] is very great, and the [surfers] are disarmed and defenceless," said Domingo.
"A law governing ecommerce can give us some legal security. It can be good for [surfers] since, among other things, we have obtained the prohibition of spam."
Pedro de Alzaga, editor of the online edition of Spain's major daily newspaper El Pais, is worried that the law is too blunt and will not be able to handle the internet's complexities.
"Under LSSI, if you include a banner on your homepage, you'll have to register your domain with the Department of Commerce and pay taxes, even if you only get a few coins to pay your ISP," he said.
"This policy favours consumers and big companies, but jeopardises the growth of small websites that would not comply with the requirements of the law.
So maybe this is not the best way to achieve the government goal of 'Promoting the Information Society'."
There is also concern that under the law an official could "provisionally" ban the online edition of a magazine if it "outrages or could outrage" the values protected by the law.
But to ban a magazine edition from the news stands requires the approval of a judge.
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