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Police mechanism to monitor social media

By R Dutta Choudhury
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GUWAHATI, June 1 - With antisocial elements and militants using cyber space more frequently to create disturbance and to lure youths to their fold, the Assam Police is trying to set up a mechanism to monitor social media and a manual monitoring for at least three to four times a day has already started in most of the districts.

Police sources told The Assam Tribune that teams of police personnel have been constituted in all districts to monitor social media. There are around 300 social media sites in operation in India and it is not possible to monitor all these, sources said, adding, efforts are on to monitor major social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, etc., at least three to four times a day with specific key words, which change almost every day depending on the ground situation.

�At this moment, there is no automated mechanism to monitor social media. Though security agencies used a software to monitor social media, the same software is not useful anymore after sites like Facebook upgraded their own security system,� sources said, admitting that the present system of monitoring social media is not foolproof. �But, at least, efforts have been made and it is expected that constant monitoring would prevent untoward incidents like mob violence to some extent.�

Giving examples of miscreants creating problems in the State using social media, sources pointed out that some provocative comments in the cyber space after the Silapathar incident, where an AASU office was attacked, posed a major threat and fortunately, effective steps could be taken before the situation could go out of control. Similarly, on several occasions, miscreants tried to create disturbance by inciting people in the Assam-Nagaland border areas.

Sources also pointed out that in most cases, the miscreants try to use social media to create communal and ethnic tension and if such sites are monitored regularly and sincerely, it is possible to prevent serious law and order situation with proper planning.

Sources revealed that militants are also using social media to attract youths to their fold. In fact, outfits like the ISIS launch most of their propaganda material through the cyber space. �Miscreants using social media is not a problem faced by Assam alone; it�s a global phenomenon, and the problem is more acute in the western world,� sources said.

Though WhatsApp cannot be considered a social media platform, it is also being used by militants to send demand notes, which is a major problem as it is almost impossible to keep tab on messages sent through that media. The ultras have now started sending WhatsApp messages demanding money and as SIM cards are easily available anywhere in the country, it is almost impossible to track down the person sending such messages.

�The miscreants do not use such SIM cards for a long time and throw those away after using those only for a few days,� sources added.

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Police mechanism to monitor social media

GUWAHATI, June 1 - With antisocial elements and militants using cyber space more frequently to create disturbance and to lure youths to their fold, the Assam Police is trying to set up a mechanism to monitor social media and a manual monitoring for at least three to four times a day has already started in most of the districts.

Police sources told The Assam Tribune that teams of police personnel have been constituted in all districts to monitor social media. There are around 300 social media sites in operation in India and it is not possible to monitor all these, sources said, adding, efforts are on to monitor major social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, etc., at least three to four times a day with specific key words, which change almost every day depending on the ground situation.

�At this moment, there is no automated mechanism to monitor social media. Though security agencies used a software to monitor social media, the same software is not useful anymore after sites like Facebook upgraded their own security system,� sources said, admitting that the present system of monitoring social media is not foolproof. �But, at least, efforts have been made and it is expected that constant monitoring would prevent untoward incidents like mob violence to some extent.�

Giving examples of miscreants creating problems in the State using social media, sources pointed out that some provocative comments in the cyber space after the Silapathar incident, where an AASU office was attacked, posed a major threat and fortunately, effective steps could be taken before the situation could go out of control. Similarly, on several occasions, miscreants tried to create disturbance by inciting people in the Assam-Nagaland border areas.

Sources also pointed out that in most cases, the miscreants try to use social media to create communal and ethnic tension and if such sites are monitored regularly and sincerely, it is possible to prevent serious law and order situation with proper planning.

Sources revealed that militants are also using social media to attract youths to their fold. In fact, outfits like the ISIS launch most of their propaganda material through the cyber space. �Miscreants using social media is not a problem faced by Assam alone; it�s a global phenomenon, and the problem is more acute in the western world,� sources said.

Though WhatsApp cannot be considered a social media platform, it is also being used by militants to send demand notes, which is a major problem as it is almost impossible to keep tab on messages sent through that media. The ultras have now started sending WhatsApp messages demanding money and as SIM cards are easily available anywhere in the country, it is almost impossible to track down the person sending such messages.

�The miscreants do not use such SIM cards for a long time and throw those away after using those only for a few days,� sources added.