In the backdrop of recent hoisting of ISIS flag across nation and support to the terrorist Yakub Memon by a specific community in Mumbai and on social netrowking site, government drawing up a comprehensive strategy to tackle radicalization through internet and preventing youth from getting attracted to the ideology of Islamic State (IS), National Investigation Agency (NIA) has for the first time set up a special cell to monitor internet content and chatter.
For this, the agency has acquired state-of-the-art tools (software) from a US software giant. The tools — approved by National Informatics Centre (NIC) and Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC) — will help the agency identify communication having certain key words related to any kind of terrorism or radicalization attempt. They will also identify suspect content across various platforms that could be put together to establish patterns through analysis.
Until now, such tools were available only with Intelligence Bureau (IB) and Research and Analysis Wing (RAW). This makes NIA the only agency outside the intelligence set-up to be allowed such surveillance.
“Terrorists are not talking over the phone anymore. That is why it took so many years to apprehend Indian Mujahideen operative Ahmed Zarar Siddibappa alias Yasin Bhatkal even as he continued executing blast after blast. Unless we enhance our cyber monitoring capabilities, we are always going to stay a step behind the terrorist. All terror plans, radicalization, recruitment are to day being discussed over the internet,” said an NIA official.
However, the job is easier said than done. In the day and age of encrypted communication and frequently changing codes for terror chatter, state-of-the-art tools can only help as much. Sources in intelligence agencies, which have been struggling to keep pace with this communication, say that it ultimately boils down to the man who is analyzing the data. We are training our men as of now. The idea is to expand this cell across the country at all NIA branches.