If you have a Wi-Fi connection at home or office, get it password-protected immediately. Or get ready to face the police at your doorstep.
In their desperation to come up with new ways to counter terror attacks, security establishments have turned their attention to this new-age technology that has, of late, proved handy for terrorists blamed for blasts, most recently in Delhi.
Gurgaon police has started tracking all hotels, houses and offices with Wi-Fi-enabled networks. “We’ll curb its misuse,” said Anil Dhawan, DCP Gurgaon. “All station house officers have been asked to furnish a list of buildings with Wi-Fi facility in their areas at the earliest,” Dhawan said.
Noida is not far behind. “We’ve started a campaign to spread awareness among users to protect their Wi-Fi networks with alpha-numeric passwords,” said AK Tripathi, Superintendent of Police (Noida City).
There is panic at the highest echelons of government. Last month, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) proposed a list of guidelines to the Department of Telecommunications on “how to curb the menace of unregulated Wi-Fi s”.
“We suggested that the Internet Service Providers (ISPs) get a list of Wi-Fi users in their clientele and make sure they maintain a log of users accessing the networks at home, office or public places,” said Nripendra Misra, TRAI chairman.
“Installing a Wi-Fi at home doesn’t require any technical expertise, or any licence from anybody. Anyone can buy a signal box and connect it to a Net connection to turn it into Wi-Fi. The ISPs can’t keep track of it,” said Rajesh Sheria. He is president of Internet Service Providers Association of India.
“One can make his home or office Wi-Fi with as little as Rs 1,000.”
Net users may not like the idea of police snooping around their home networks. “Does it mean that the police will be at liberty to control my Internet usage?” asked Rajmohan Sudhakar, an executive with a media website in Gurgaon.
“Several large university campuses and even cities like Bangalore have free Wi-Fi, which everyone can log in to. Does it mean that the city is not safe?” asked Rajmohan Sudhakar, an executive with a media website in Gurgaon, who has Wi-Fi at home in Safdsarjung Enclave.