Police to keep account of cyber cafes in City

Police to keep account of cyber cafes in City

Following the disclosure by British news outlet, Channel4, that a marketing executive working for a food conglomerate in Bengaluru was the handler of the anonymous pro-ISIS Twitter account @ShamiWitness, police have decided to crack the whip on cyber cafes operating in the City as a majority of them are not following the norms laid down under the Information Technology Act, 2000.

Mehdi Masroor Biswas is suspected to have visited cyber cafes to use social media. Hence, the police may verify the details of visitors maintained by owners of cyber cafes, sources in the City police said.

The Act stipulates that cyber cafe owners take sufficient precautions to prevent their centres from being used for illegal or criminal activity.

The owners should verify the visitors’ identity by insisting on identity proofs issued by academic institutions, credit cards, passport, voter’s identity card, PAN card, driving licence, etc. They should maintain a register for entries such as present residential address of the user, login and logout time, according to the IT Act, 2000.

“Cyber cafe owners should follow the norms laid down by the IT Act, 2000. We will take action as per the law if they are found to be violating the norms. We will make them follow the IT Act,” City Police Commissioner M N Reddi told Deccan Herald.

In the past, a few suspected terrorists were found to have used cyber cafes to transmit information about vital installations across Karnataka to their handlers abroad.
Majority of the cafes followed the norms, but in the recent past, it appears there is hardly any verification of visitors.

The City police have also decided to verify the antecedents of all marketing executives working in food conglomerates. A senior officer, who has handled terror cases in the past, said: “Going by our experience of handling terror cases, the name Mehdi may not be genuine. It could be a fictitious name or even a code. The investigators will check it.

They will also try to verify if Mehdi had contacts with Areeb Majid (the young man from Kalyan who reportedly joined the IS but returned to India recently)”.

It is not immediately known if Mehdi used only one or multiple computers at different places. Police may request the Central agencies to get in touch with the British news channel to get more information, the officer added.

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