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Ritesh Warke On Tuesday, April 26, 2011
Apr 26, 2011, 03.49pm IST TNN

NEW DELHI: Fresh guidelines, which are part of Information Technology (guidelines for cyber cafe) Rules 2011, will require cyber cafe owners to
"tell users" not to surf websites that contain
"pornographic or obscene
. Experts termed the rule arbitrary, saying that watching pornography is not an offence in India.

According to the rules notified on April 11, all cyber cafes in
the country will have to
register with an "agency as
notified" by the government. While some of the guidelines deal with the security threat
posed by "anonymous
internet users", most aim to make sure that people don't use cyber cafés to access pornographic material.

Pawan Duggal, a lawyer who specializes in IT laws, said the new guidelines were arbitrary. "Watching
pornography is not illegal in India," he said. "It's absurd to ask cyber café owners to tell their customers not to access
pornographic material even as law allows individuals to access adult websites unless
it's not child pornography. The new rules require a second look."

The new rules suggest café
owners install filtering
software and keep a log of all websites accessed by
customers for at least one
Café owners have also been asked not to build a cabin/cubicle with a height of more than four and half feet.
In a cyber café where there
are no cubicles, "owners will have to place computers with the screens facing outward"or towards open space. The move is aimed at reducing privacy a cyber café user can get.

Duggal said if implemented
earnestly, the new rules will
put most of cyber café
owners out of business.

The new rules make it
mandatory for user to carry an identity card. Cyber café owners have been asked to 
give user logs to the
"registration agency" every month as well keep these
records along with the log of websites accessed at the cyber café safe for a period of one year.
 A few café owners said
that technically, it would be a daunting task to keep a
record of every website
accessed using their computers
for a year.


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