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The Indian city of Mumbai hopes to fight terrorism by installing keyloggers

All Internet cafes in the Indian city of Mumbai will have police-sanctioned key-logger software installed on their machines to help combat terrorism.  With a population of 13 million residents, cafe owners only in the city of Mumbai will be forced to install the software.

All cafe owners will be forced to register and receive a city license from police headquarters, reveal the number of PCs located in the location and Internet protocol (IP) addresses for all of the PCs.  Any cafe owners who do not register can be fined, with harsher punishments possible.

The announcement follows bombings in Hyderabad and Mumbai that were reportedly organized in Internet cafes.

"The police needs to install programs that will capture every key stroke at regular interval screen shots, which will be sent back to a server that will log all the data," said Vijay Mukhi, India Foundation for Information Security and Technology president.  "The police can then keep track of all communication between terrorists no matter which part of the world they operate from. This is the only way to patrol the net and this is how the police informer is going to look in the e-age," he added.

Privacy experts and bloggers around the world point out different methods criminals can use to remain anonymous.  A CNET blog indicates the use of proxy servers and Tor could be two potentially popular methods to get around the keyloggers.



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By JasonMick (blog) on 9/11/2007 1:37:34 PM , Rating: 5
I don't think this is a horrible invasion of privacy.

These are PUBLIC computers.

Who would look at confidential materials/pornography/any other personal documents on a public computer?

Just because the police/gov't has installed such a keylogger doesn't mean a hacker hasn't.

I never trust public terminals.

As the article mentioned there are work arounds, as well, but still you would not want to use a public terminal for private business.

I do think the gov't of India should compensate cafe owners in some way for compliance, as it is likely a chore to do.

Do not get me wrong: I am firmly against all monitoring of private lines, be it phone lines or internet connections, but I feel that once you cross into the public domain, your actions are in public and can be reasonably exposed to the law enforcement agencies.

Typically those who hide behind public terminals and would fear this development are performing malicious actions.


RE: and who's fighting the invasion of privacy?
By psychmike on 9/11/2007 2:23:36 PM , Rating: 5
Internet cafes don't use public computers, they use privately owned computers rented out to the public. There's a world of difference between entering into a contract with someone who stipulates their own conditions for use verses a government imposing their restrictions.

I don't buy the arguement that only people who have something to hide should be afraid of scrutiny. There are many things that I do that I do not want others to see or know about because they are silly, embaressing, meant just for others close to me, etc. The onus should be on those who want to violate my privacy to demonstrate to the courts through a warrant application why my rights should be curtailed.

I'm sure casting a really wide net will curtail terrorist activity. Hell, it may even cut down on other offenses like drug distribution, kiddie porn, etc. Asking people to provide ID for walking on the street will probably stop a lot of crime too. I wouldn't have anything to hide there either but there is something very dangerous about the state treating its citizens as potential enemies. It often leads to the belief by those in power that their interests are the same as the state's interests and that anyone who disagrees is a terrorist / criminal / fool. Dissent is healthy and necessary in a democracy and this does nothing to encourage open and free speech.

Mike


By PrinceGaz on 9/12/2007 10:12:08 AM , Rating: 2
Exactly. Would anyone here ever use a computer in a library or internet-cafe to buy something online, entering their personal credit-card details. Anyone? Nobody with any sense would anyway.

I personally feel that when using such computers, it is best to assume key-logging and similar software may well be installed, and never enter personal information on them.


By dever on 9/11/2007 3:57:30 PM , Rating: 5
quote:
These are PUBLIC computers.
Maybe this is the problem with the world. People assume that anything they don't personally own is PUBLIC.


By geekgod on 9/11/2007 4:03:44 PM , Rating: 2
All of this makes perfect sense when you own a computer.

A lot of people in India don't own a computer, or if they do own one, most of them suffer horrible connection speeds. Cafes are the only alternatives in such situations when you really need to get things done, quickly.

Also, the screenshots on regular intervals being sent to the servers?? I think that would bring these cafes to a standstill, due to the bandwidth issues.

If I had to guess, I would say this is just another way to make quick money for the software and hardware vendors....


By FangedRabbit on 9/12/2007 11:27:46 AM , Rating: 2
It is not an invasion of privacy if on a public computer. Many of you seem to forget that a computer is a luxury item and most people don't technically NEED it. The computers in cafe's are for entertainment, not bill paying, ebaying, E-mailing...etc.

I would never submit any login information while on a public terminal...it's just stupid and dangerous. You don't know who's sitting on the network with a packet sniffer capturing all that information anyways, so you should never even risk it.

Not to mention that anyone that really NEEDED a computer for work, business, etc, would own their own and not be using a public cafe.

This will however put a huge damper on the ability of terrorist cells to plan and organize as public computers are their preferred means.


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