Susceptible to misuse

Cyber Safety

Susceptible to misuse

In today’s world of free wi-fi and smartphones, which allow the owner to receive emails and surf the Internet anywhere they go, there are fewer people who make the occasional visit to the cyber cafe.

In the past, cyber cafes have been known to aid hackers, men looking for pornographic content on the web as well as terrorists who use an IP that cannot be traced back to them. Metrolife speaks to some of the cafes in the City to know if the proper identity check is conducted to prevent such cyber crimes.

For Roshan, who runs a cyber cafe in Malleswaram, it’s a matter of keeping a tab on the websites visited from his server.

 “There used to be a lot of kids who would come here and misuse the facilities I provide. Now, without proper identity proof like a passport or voter card, I don’t let them use it. Personally, I don’t even accept a driver’s licence because a lot of them are fake and the person’s real name is not certain,” he says.

Some of the rules that have been laid out as per Section 144 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) include provisions like cyber cafe owners having to maintain a register for each user, which the user must sign as well, preserving the activity server log for at least six months and informing the police station if any activity of a suspicious nature is detected.
But a surprise visit to a cyber cafe in Koramangala showed that this was being ignored for selective customers.

The owner, who does not wish to be named, informs, “There are certain regulars who frequently visit my cafe for their work. It’s a bother to ask them for their identity proof every time they come here. I know what work they do on my systems and have built a trust over time.”

Interestingly, the check is even more rigid for foreign nationals who wish to use the computers. “We have been given orders from the authorities who let us run these cafes to be stricter with firangs. I’ve never had any cyber crime take place here but I’d rather comply than face unpleasant consequences,” notes Shaheed K, who owns a cyber cafe in Sadashivnagar. 

Recently, the city police issued notices to cyber cafes declaring that monthly raids would take place. If the cyber cafe was not complying with the guidelines given in the Information Technology Act, the owner would be booked with heavy fines. One can just hope that the owners take this threat seriously and buck up their filtering process.

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