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Cyber cafe rules too strict?

Cyber café owners will have to bear more burden to run their business. They have to follow new rules under the Information Technology (Guidelines for Cyber Cafe) Rules, 2011. Sunil Thapliyal reports.

india Updated: Jun 26, 2011 01:23 IST
Sunil Thapliyal

Cyber café owners will have to bear more burden to run their business. They have to follow new rules under the Information Technology (Guidelines for Cyber Cafe) Rules, 2011.

The guidelines state that cyber café owners will have to store and maintain backups of logs for each login by any user. These records must be kept at least for a year. The café owners should ensure that the log is not tampered.

All cyber cafes that have private cubicles cannot allow minors to use computers without an adult accompanying them.

"This step will affect cyber café business across the country. If these rules are implemented, 80% cyber cafes will shut down. Most cafes are small businesses, and they don't have the resources to follow these guidelines," said IT expert Pavan Duggal.

According to him, these rules may be implemented in cities but not in rural areas. "The rules will prevent people from freely connecting with one another across the length and breadth of this country. Many internet users in rural areas will be affected. The rules are difficult to follow practically," added said Duggal.

‘Business will go bad’
Cyber café owner Ajay Sharma said most internet users are minors. “If we don't allow them to use the internet without an accompanying adult, then it will affect our business,” he said.

Many café owners have opposed the new set of IT rules. Not only the owners but users too will be hit hard by the rules.

"We already ask users for photo identity to maintain records. But if we maintain their usage logs, we would be invading their privacy. It will also be a difficult task technically," said Sharma. "We can't check their browsing history. It is a severe invasion of privacy and ethically wrong," he added.

The new rules aim to prevent anti-social and anti-national elements from using the internet. "These rules are good from the security point of view but the data can also be misused," added Duggal. Maintaining browsing history of users is also not an easy task.