Police in India to monitor cybercafes

Tuesday, 20 January 2004, 3:46 AM EST

Relatively few Indians can afford home PCs, so millions go online in the nation's jammed Internet cafes, enjoying their low cost and anonymity. But police in Bombay are planning to monitor cybercafes, a move some are decrying as excessive regulation that could create a dangerous precedent.

Increasingly fearful that terrorists and other criminals are taking advantage of cybercafes, Bombay police want to require customers to show photo identification and give their home addresses. Cafe owners would have to retain such records for up to a year and show them to police on request.

The proposal is to be presented next month to the Maharashtra state government and is expected to pass; critics have not been united in mounting opposition.

By Ramola Talwar Badam at SunSpot.

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