If the new rules framed by the Department of Information Technology for using cyber cafés are implemented in letter and spirit, they could well force people without their own computers to stay away from accessing the Internet, besides compelling the owners of these small businesses to store minute details about their customers' surfing habits in the face of penal action.

Notified last month, the IT (Guidelines for Cyber Café) Rules, 2011, require cyber café customers to furnish proper identification proof, a copy of which must be stored for a year. Acceptable identity cards include those issued by any school or college, or photo credit cards, passports, voter identity cards, PAN cards, driving licences or any cards issued by a government agency, including the UID number.

Schoolchildren who do not have a photo ID will not be allowed entry unless accompanied by an adult possessing identity proof.

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