BANGALORE: In August 2004, the State Government had made it mandatory for cyber cafes to maintain records of internet users.
Eight years down the line, the city has over 6,000 internet cafes and only a handful of them abide by the rule. Highly placed sources in the Cyber Crime Department told Express that they are now trying to come up with a list of all offenders and will soon crackdown on them. According to the notification issued to all cyber cafes in the city in 2004, failure to maintain records would result in impounding their licences. The police have time and again warned of raids and had even cancelled some licenses when offenders were caught.
While the IT Act of 2000 doesn’t really have a proper rule for cyber cafes, jurisdictional police have verbally been reiterating the rule. “We have got complaints about many places not abiding by the rules and have decided to look into the matter,” said a source within the department. However, as per the IT Act, internet cafe owners who do not follow the rules laid down about maintaining record of every user would be punished under Section 67 and Section 292 of the Indian Penal Code.
In 2008, the police had issued a notice reminding cyber cafes to maintain customer details, including their names, addresses, phone number, occupation and office address, along with login and logout time. “Cyber cafes further had to check the identity card - either driving license, voter ID card, passport or PAN card of every customer. They were supposed to install CCTV cameras too. Barely a few cafes today are following the rule,” said a senior official.
To analyse the problem, Express conducted a reality check in 10 areas that have around 3 to 5 cyber cafes. While in areas like Brigade Road, Commercial Street, Koramangala and Jayanagar, records were being maintained, in many other areas, the customer had to merely come in and take a system, pay out and leave. On checking for CCTV cameras, we found that only 2 out of 15 places had CCTV cameras installed. Of the two places, only 1 place had it operational. Further, at one other place the owner was not available and the owner’s child collected the money and allotted systems.