A news report filed in the Mumbai based tabloid Mid-Day informed about a plan to install a surveillance systems in Mumbai Cyber Café which would have intruded the privacy and security of ordinary Mumbai netizens has finally been proved to be a hoax. Installation of such surveillance tool is akin to tapping everyone’s telephone lines. The report was hotly debated over several news groups & the blogosphere. Questions were raised on the credibility of various security experts & Mumbai Police's competence. We at ApiAp tried our best to verify the news report. The author of the news article stood by his report & refused to divulge the source of information. Inquiries with the Mumbai Cyber cell, who would have been normally be in charge of such an action remained unanswered. Let with no option , we were forced to seek the information by invoking our rights under the Govt of India's law of Right to Information Act 2005 .
We asked :
- Number of Cyber Cafes registered with the Mumbai Police as on 29th August 2007., THE NEWS REPORT MENTIONED 500 INTENRET CAFES.
- Clarify on any authorization given by Mumbai Police to the Foundation for Information Security And Technology, headed by Mr. Vijay Mukhi to make public statements on policy matters or conduct inquires on procurement of service or material for a consideration. ; THE NEWS REPORT IMPLICATED MR VIJAY MUKHI HAS BEEN AUTHORISED TO SPEAK ON BEHALF OF MUMBAI POLICE.
- Any notice issued to install a monitoring surveillance tools in each cyber café. If yes, under what clause/rule of which act/law, the notice is served. . TO ADDRESS THE QUESTION IF ANYONE HAS BEEN ORDERED TO INSTALL SUCH SYSTEM.
- The nature of dialogue with M/S Micro Technologies for procuring software called CRAMS. THE NEWS REPORT EXPLICITLY MENTIONED MUMBAI POLICE IS IN A DIALOGUE WITH THE COMPANY. Finally the Truth is out ! In response to our request under the RTI act, the office of the Mumbai police commissioner has denied on taking any such actions, It is noteworthy to know only 38 cyber cafe have been registered with the Mumbai Police ! & as of 12th OCT, 2007 - only 72 applications have been made to the office. This also vindicates our stand on lengthy compliances will be a failure and bigger risk to the cyber security. Its a relief to unearth the truth, but an irreparable damage is done to the businesses & consumer confidence. We wish our journalist & Regulatory forces alike had access to more credible experts on complex subjects like Cyber Security. The so called guardians of the city has shown some accountability in their public service.