UAE net cafe surfers face ID checks

Internet café owners in the UAE will soon begin requesting and recording customer ID info before these customers are allowed to log on and use the internet.

  • E-Mail
By  Matthew Wade Published  March 1, 2006

Internet café owners in the UAE will soon begin requesting and recording customer ID info before these customers are allowed to log on and use the internet. This scheme is being rolled out by the internet arm of UAE incumbent Etisalat, eCompany, reportedly at the behest of UAE authorities. UAE internet café owners operate as resellers of eCompany’s ‘Al Mawrood’ public net access service and some of those based in Dubai have, in some cases, already received visits from Etisalat’s eCompany staff requesting that they sign contracts relating to this scheme. These documents - seen by Windows - state that owners must check and record the ID details of new cafe customers over the age of 16 (and below when possible) before users can receive eCompany log-on usernames and passwords (generated by eCompany’s online authentication system). In the case of any subsequent hacking or malicious activity originating from a cafe’s statically-assigned IP addresses, eCompany might then ask owners to submit the respective user IDs to the police’s e-crime division. According to eCompany’s senior manager, Abdulla Hashim, speaking exclusively to Windows, this customer monitoring has been requested by the UAE’s security authorities and will be rolled out country-wide over the coming weeks and months. “We are complying with a security request that has been made to use by high-level security here in the UAE,” Hashim said. “So we feel it’s very important. Internet cafes are places where some people exchange information and do illegal things. We have known about cases for instance, where cafes have hosted activities such as hacking. This new security measure is to control and reduce such activities,” he added. The provision of personal ID at internet cafes is not a new idea in this region. Such information has, for instance, also been requested in Syria. However, this has reportedly been difficult to implement.

Add a Comment

Your display name This field is mandatory

Your e-mail address This field is mandatory (Your e-mail address won't be published)

Security code