Indo-US Intelligence Team to End Virtual Terrorism

Terrorists allegedly use cyber platforms for indoctrination and recruitment purposes

Published: 06th November 2014 06:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 05th November 2014 10:20 PM   |  A+A-

NEW DELHI: Indian and US intelligence agencies are working together to neutralise misuse of social media platforms in the virtual world by terror groups.

A top MHA official said terrorists were using these platforms for indoctrination, recruitment and to communicate with the self-motivated modules operating in different time zones. Some of the modern applications, officials said, couldnot be intercepted, thus making it the safest medium of communication between terrorists.

“Since most of the servers and companies are based in the US, a joint mechanism has been prepared to address the issue which requires greater support from American agencies. Our dedicated team which is monitoring the activities in the cyber world sends reports requesting the US authorities as well as Indian companies for appropriate action,” the official said, adding dismantling terror groups’ virtual command and control centre on various online platforms, required cooperation from other agencies which is in process.  

The disclosure has come on a day when Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh flagged the misuse of internet for radicalisation and spreading toxic ideology at 100th General Assembly Session of the Interpol in Monaco. Rajnath said the internet and social media were also being increasingly used to instigate communal riots to destabilise the state.

“Internet has become the principal means of communication for extremist groups, which now have a substantial online presence. These internet forums act as a virtual firewall to help safeguard the identities of those who participate,” the Home Minister said.

Indian agencies are facing serious problem in blocking the objectionable contents being circulated by the terror outfits and they are completely dependent on the cooperation from the US agencies and social media platforms. In fact, requests made by Indian agencies to Facebook for details of suspicious users reveal sharp increase this year.

The report made public by the popular social media platform on Wednesday revealed that Indian spy agencies and computer emergency response team had made 4,559 requests to Facebook in six months (January -June 2014) seeking data about 5,958 suspicious user accounts.

The figure for same period last year was only 3,245. The Facebook report said some data were shared with the Indian authorities in 50.8 per cent cases.  Without giving details, the report pointed out that 4,960 pieces of contents were also restricted on the request of Indian authorities.

“We restricted access in India to a number of pieces of content reported primarily by law enforcement officials and the India Computer Emergency Response Team under local laws prohibiting criticism of a religion or the state,” the Facebook report stated.

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