Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Ahmedabad & Bangalore's Cyber Crime cell on outsourcing mode !

The Police force of the world's largest democratic country is on an outsourcing mode! At least this is what I conclude reading the rules being passed by the Ahmedabad & Bangalore police's nascent Cyber crime cell. Some significant measures announced are :

If you are not carrying a photo-ID card, you will have to get your photograph taken by webcam in the cafe and enter your details on the computer and your photograph will be stored in the computer for a period of one year.
Ahmedabad city police goes a step further :
Apart from these instructions, the directive also stipulates that cyber cafes will not be allowed to function near educational institutions, hospitals and places of worship.
I think the honorable office of the Cyber Crime investigations considers only criminals visit Cyber Cafe or all those who access Internet in public domain as suspicious . Until now the police department used to keep records and photographs of only people booked for offence. Now in this billion people nation setting up a database of each of us is a task which the police is confident only the "till now" ubiquitous Cyber cafes can execute. I think it is a great recognition of our strength and spread, considering the previous two national agencies viz the Election Commission with the Voters photo ID card and the Income Tax Authority with the Permanent account number PAN scheme are still struggling to set their records updated even after a decade! So how can a small commercial telecentre achieve it ? This action will also bring India in the club of worlds most Autocratic countries namely: China, Cuba & Vietnam to maintain such strict vigil. The city of London too is host to numerous cyber cafes but none have faced such severe restrictions and none of the developed countries have framed such laws then I wonder why Indian city regulators are planning such laws . Exactly a year ago the Mumbai police too had proposed similar regulations. Thankfully the authorities were considerate enough to understand the cyber cafe problems and offered to defer such laws. Operating a cyber cafe is no more a lucrative business . With earning significantly less than the one can expect a salary from a call centre job . With effect of such regulations I wonder, how many will still take a risk to operate in this business . Already the commercial cyber cafes are declining. Further Will people wile l be comfortable visiting a Cyber Cafes, where all your data, activity are under scrutiny . How can the police or the poor cyber cafe operator safe guard this data from being misused ? How will the Cyber cafe manger convince the women in the veil to be photographed ? In India only 1.59 people per 100 have access to Internet, Commercial telecentres with their pay per use model are the best bet to increase Internet penetration significantly but unfortunately such draconian law will burn the bridge to digital divide.

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