: The proposed move of police to make fingerprint system mandatory at cyber cafes in the city evoked sharp reaction from the internet cafe operators They argue that police should first crack down on unauthorised cafes.
"Making fingerprint system compulsory is not a good idea and may not be feasible. Police should first close down 1,000 unauthorised cafes operating in the city to bring down cyber crimes,'' Ashish Saboo, president of the Mumbai chapter of Association of Public ICT Tools Access Providers, said.
Additional police commissioner (crime) Deven Bharti said the police had raided unauthorised cafes whenever they received complaints. "We continue to raid such cyber cafes. Our idea behind the new plan is to keep a tab on internet users. This will help us nail the accused if a cyber crime is committed.''
There are about 500 to 800 registered cyber cafes in the city and about 1,000 are unauthorised. "Increase in the number of cyber crimes in the city prompted us to think about the idea,'' Bharti said.
The number of cyber crime cases rose from 142 in 2005 to 775 in 2008. Of the cases registered in 2008, 164 related to fake profiling, defamation and sending obscene content while two complaints pertained to the matrimonial website shadi.com.
Police have received over 155 cyber crime complaints this year.
"Police are discouraging operators by making various norms tough and driving away our business,'' Karam Shi (47), who operates a cyber cafe at Churchgate, said.
Shi said if the customers are asked to go through fingerprint system, they feel that they are being treated like criminals.
"The existing mandatory norms are enough. The customers show their photo id and their address is noted down. A log book is maintained at all the cafes. By asking more from us, the police are making our business more complicated. This would prevent entry of new operators,'' said Shi, who has been into this business for the last eight years.
"Customers do not like to go through such formalities before entering the cafes. They feel humiliated. If it continues, the number of customers visiting the cafes will certainly come down in the future,'' Saboo said.
Among the various cyber crimes, a significant number of people have fallen prey to the Nigerian letters, which lured the receivers by saying that they had inherited property worth crores in a foreign country.
Credit card frauds, sending vulgar content, identity theft, hacking and lottery scams are among other fraudulent practices which many Mumbaikars have fallen for, sources said.