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Indian police may use keyloggers in war on terror

Fist: put keyloggers in every cybercafé

India's Fist (the Foundation for Information Security and Technology) has proposed that police use key-logging software at cybercafés to keep track of terrorists.

Cybercafés offer terrorists anonymity, said Fist president Vijay Mukhi in Mumbai in a telephone interview late Tuesday. Terrorists are known to use IM (instant messengers) from companies such as Microsoft and Yahoo, and these companies don't share information from IM chats with the police, he added.

Fist, a non-profit organisation in Mumbai, is focused on cyber-security and has worked with the police on related issues. It aims to get keyloggers on computers in cybercafés throughout India, Mukhi said.

Keyloggers are software on a computer that record a user's key strokes on a computer keyboard. Data from keyloggers will be uploaded to centralised servers where it will be available to the police for scrutiny.

The move does not as yet have the approval of the Mumbai police.

The keyloggers would be activated centrally as and when a suspect walks into a cybercafé or when suspicious activity is noted, Mukhi said.

A number of bloggers have criticised Mukhi's proposal, saying it will put personal data of ordinary individuals at risk. But some other blogs said that it is too small a price to pay to protect against loss of life from terrorism. The police should put in place a mechanism for citizens to seek redress from any misuse of their private information, Mukhi said.

Bomb blasts by terrorists have killed a large number of people in the country. In July last year, seven bombs planted in Mumbai's suburban trains killed over 200 people and injured another 700.

Terrorists are increasingly using the Internet to communicate with one another, as they are aware that telephone and mobile phones connections are under Indian government surveillance, according to Mukhi.

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