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Advanced countries also face problems

By R Dutta Choudhury
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GUWAHATI, June 19 - Monitoring the cyber space to check terrorists and antisocial elements from misusing it has become a major problem not only for India but also for the technologically advanced countries. Though the police and security agencies are now keeping a close watch on social media to prevent spreading of hate messages in Assam, it can only act as deterrent action as it is not possible to check each and every social media message.

Highly placed security sources told The Assam Tribune that the Central agencies, which have better technologies to deal with the problem, are also helping the Assam Police as spreading of rumours through the social media has led to tragic death of two youths, which was followed by tension in parts of the State as hate messages were spread through the social media. The Assam Police has formed district-wise teams to check Facebook posts and a number of arrests have been made all over the State. But sources admitted that it is impossible to check each and every message spread through the social media and every citizen must play their roles responsibly by reporting to the law enforcing agencies whenever they come across any inflammatory comment.

Giving details of the problems faced by the police and security agencies in keeping a watch on the cyber space, sources pointed out that the WhatsApp messages are encrypted end to end and it is not possible for the security agencies to detect such a message if a person receiving it does not report to the law enforcing agencies. �Some people have the habit of forwarding WhatsApp messages without verifying the contents, which has become a very dangerous trend and can lead to serious social tension,� sources admitted.

Sources revealed that with a huge volume of messages sent through Facebook everyday, it is not possible for anyone to check each and every message. �Of course, the police and security agencies can keep a watch on the Facebook messages and detect inflammatory messages to nab those involved in sending the same. But that is only the tip of an iceberg. However, even if a few persons can be arrested, it would create fear in the minds of the unscrupulous elements,� sources added.

There have also been instances of unscrupulous elements creating fake accounts to spread hate messages and in such cases, the task becomes even more difficult for the law enforcing agencies. Interestingly, one fake Facebook account in the name of Guwahati City Police Commissioner HC Nath was created and it was closed after the matter came to light yesterday.

There are two ways to deal with messages sent through fake accounts. One way is launching a thorough investigation by locating the persons in the friend�s list of the person concerned, which is a lengthy process. The government can also write to Facebook authorities seeking the details, including the IP address through which the account is being operated. Sources said the government, while sending such requests to Facebook authorities, would have to give details of why the information about a particular account is required. �We will have to properly justify why we need the details. In some cases, the Government of India received good response from Facebook authorities in dealing with terrorists, but we have to justify the requirements,� sources added.

Security sources pointed out that monitoring the cyber space has become a major problem even for the technologically advanced countries. Even during the infamous Paris attack, the terrorists belonging to the ISIS used the social media to remain in touch with each other and an advanced country like France could not detect the same despite the fact that all the terrorists involved were in the wanted list,� sources added.

Sources also said that China has developed its own servers and use own satellites and that is why, cyber space monitoring is better in that country as compared to India.

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Advanced countries also face problems

GUWAHATI, June 19 - Monitoring the cyber space to check terrorists and antisocial elements from misusing it has become a major problem not only for India but also for the technologically advanced countries. Though the police and security agencies are now keeping a close watch on social media to prevent spreading of hate messages in Assam, it can only act as deterrent action as it is not possible to check each and every social media message.

Highly placed security sources told The Assam Tribune that the Central agencies, which have better technologies to deal with the problem, are also helping the Assam Police as spreading of rumours through the social media has led to tragic death of two youths, which was followed by tension in parts of the State as hate messages were spread through the social media. The Assam Police has formed district-wise teams to check Facebook posts and a number of arrests have been made all over the State. But sources admitted that it is impossible to check each and every message spread through the social media and every citizen must play their roles responsibly by reporting to the law enforcing agencies whenever they come across any inflammatory comment.

Giving details of the problems faced by the police and security agencies in keeping a watch on the cyber space, sources pointed out that the WhatsApp messages are encrypted end to end and it is not possible for the security agencies to detect such a message if a person receiving it does not report to the law enforcing agencies. �Some people have the habit of forwarding WhatsApp messages without verifying the contents, which has become a very dangerous trend and can lead to serious social tension,� sources admitted.

Sources revealed that with a huge volume of messages sent through Facebook everyday, it is not possible for anyone to check each and every message. �Of course, the police and security agencies can keep a watch on the Facebook messages and detect inflammatory messages to nab those involved in sending the same. But that is only the tip of an iceberg. However, even if a few persons can be arrested, it would create fear in the minds of the unscrupulous elements,� sources added.

There have also been instances of unscrupulous elements creating fake accounts to spread hate messages and in such cases, the task becomes even more difficult for the law enforcing agencies. Interestingly, one fake Facebook account in the name of Guwahati City Police Commissioner HC Nath was created and it was closed after the matter came to light yesterday.

There are two ways to deal with messages sent through fake accounts. One way is launching a thorough investigation by locating the persons in the friend�s list of the person concerned, which is a lengthy process. The government can also write to Facebook authorities seeking the details, including the IP address through which the account is being operated. Sources said the government, while sending such requests to Facebook authorities, would have to give details of why the information about a particular account is required. �We will have to properly justify why we need the details. In some cases, the Government of India received good response from Facebook authorities in dealing with terrorists, but we have to justify the requirements,� sources added.

Security sources pointed out that monitoring the cyber space has become a major problem even for the technologically advanced countries. Even during the infamous Paris attack, the terrorists belonging to the ISIS used the social media to remain in touch with each other and an advanced country like France could not detect the same despite the fact that all the terrorists involved were in the wanted list,� sources added.

Sources also said that China has developed its own servers and use own satellites and that is why, cyber space monitoring is better in that country as compared to India.

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