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Technology Allows ISIS Terror Threat to Spread across wider circles, say Intelligence Officials

The issue of easily shared information by ISIS among different countries across their international borders is what poses a threat to the governments and the defense organisations

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FILE - An Islamic State militant holds a gun while standing behind what are said to be Ethiopian Christians in Wilayat Fazzan, in this still image from an undated video made available on a social media website on April 19, 2015.

September 8, 2016: Even though the U.S.-led coalition has made progress in efforts to oust Islamic State from its “caliphate” in Iraq and Syria, top U.S. intelligence officials warn that technology is allowing the threat of terrorism to spread across even wider circles.

“The terrorism threat we face is broader, wider and deeper than in the recent past,” said Nick Rasmussen, director of the National Counterterrorism Center at an intelligence and national security summit in Washington. “It is more geographically expansive and as a result, considerably less predictable. Plotting in this environment matures more quickly and with much less warning.”

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Director of National Intelligence James Clapper emphasized the difficulties in predicting how technology will affect national security, saying the influence of IS on the global terrorism landscape has created a new intelligence reality.

FILE - IS social media distributed photos in several languages of children holding placards in Islamic State territories offering "congratulations" on the deaths of Americans, apparently in reference to the Orlando mass shooting on June 12, 2016.
FILE – IS social media distributed photos in several languages of children holding placards in Islamic State territories offering “congratulations” on the deaths of Americans, apparently in reference to the Orlando mass shooting on June 12, 2016.

“ISIS will eventually be suppressed, but I think for some time to come, we’ll have more extremist organizations, which will be spawned and which we have to contend with,” said Clapper while delivering a keynote address at Wednesday’s summit. ISIS is an acronym for Islamic State.

Information sharing

Many in the intelligence community say the terror threat in the U.S. is increasingly dominated by homegrown violent extremists or those individuals who often don’t fit a specific demographic profile or have clear ties to terrorist networks overseas.

“What’s changed, what’s different is the size and scale of the population that’s proven vulnerable to homegrown violent extremism,” said Rasmussen, adding that, “this puts a greater amount of pressure on intelligence and law enforcement officials, to get to them before they get to us.”

That increasing fragmentation and diversity of threats highlight the importance of information sharing between countries. But that’s a task that some say is tough to accomplish across international borders.

“Europe is in a very, very bad counterterrorism place,” said Michael Leiter, chief operations officer for Leidos, a global science and technology solutions company, adding, “[their] ability to police their own borders is largely nonexistent.”

Defining ‘victory’

The framing of the counterterrorism debate is also at issue, with many saying the rise of the Islamic State needs to be viewed through a broader counterterrorism lens.

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“The conversation on ISIS/ISIL tends to become all consuming,” Rasmussen said. “The stuff we’re seeing with ISIL is additive and comes on top of an already difficult threat picture.”

Experts agree that figuring out what comes after the takedown of terrorist organizations like al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula or Somali militant group al-Shabab is also an area that needs more work.

Being able to define what victory looks like, says Dr. Frank Ciluffo, director of the George Washington University’s Center for Cyber and Homeland Security, is crucial to the success of overall counterterrorism efforts.

“I do see a day when we can defeat ISIS,” Ciluffo said. “But I don’t think that translates to the jihadi threat going away.” (VOA)

  • Jagpreet Kaur Sandhu

    So technology now becoming their weapon too! It’s just wrong use of technology.

  • Jagpreet Kaur Sandhu

    Sharing of information made easy.. but improper use makes the wrong use as the ISIS.

  • Manthra koliyer

    Technology and sharing information should not be used in such a manner.

  • Ayushi Gaur

    India undoing a target

SHARE
  • Jagpreet Kaur Sandhu

    So technology now becoming their weapon too! It’s just wrong use of technology.

  • Jagpreet Kaur Sandhu

    Sharing of information made easy.. but improper use makes the wrong use as the ISIS.

  • Manthra koliyer

    Technology and sharing information should not be used in such a manner.

  • Ayushi Gaur

    India undoing a target

Next Story

SC Transfers All Pleas Concerning Social Media Guidelines to Itself

Facebook had said that transfer of cases would serve the interests of justice by avoiding the possibility of conflicting decisions

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SC, Social Media, Guidelines
The apex court was hearing Facebook's plea seeking transfer of various petitions from different high courts to the Supreme Court. Pixabay

Accepting Facebook’s plea, the Supreme Court on Tuesday allowed transfer of various petitions, related to guidelines for regulation of the social media in India, from different high courts to the top court.

A bench of Justices Deepak Gupta and Aniruddha Bose said the matter will be heard in January after the Centre formulates new guidelines on intermediaries.

The apex court was hearing Facebook’s plea seeking transfer of various petitions from different high courts to the Supreme Court.

Facebook had said that transfer of cases would serve the interests of justice by avoiding the possibility of conflicting decisions from the high courts. The social media giant told the apex court that two petitions had been filed in the Madras High Court and one each in the Bombay and Madhya Pradesh High Courts.

SC, Social Media, Guidelines
A bench of Justices Deepak Gupta and Aniruddha Bose said the matter will be heard in January after the Centre formulates new guidelines on intermediaries. Pixabay

All the pleas in the High Courts have sought a direction that Aadhaar or any other government-authorised identity proof should be made mandatory to authenticate social media accounts.

Attorney General K.K. Venugopal told the court that the state of Tamil Nadu had no objection to the matter being transferred to the Supreme Court.

Representing the Centre, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta told the top court that terrorists cannot claim the privileges of privacy.

He said no intermediary can claim to be so safe and secure that it cannot provide details of terrorists and anti-national people and protect them. He also stressed for a balance between national interest, sovereignty of the country and privacy and added that the government is not invading in privacy of citizens.

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The Attorney General told the court that government does not want to crack down on encrypted social media traffic to control crime, but expects help from online platforms to facilitate access.

Representing the petitioner, senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi told the court that the intermediaries are caught between pro-privacy parties and the government.

The Centre informed the Supreme Court that the entire process of finalising laws on regulating the social media will be completed by January 2020, and sought three months more for notifying the final revised rules in accordance with the law. (IANS)