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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

Fake News Continues to Flourish on Social Media Platforms After Polls

The flow of fake news after the election results suggests that the tide of misinformation on social media is unlikely to stop any time soon

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India Polls, Fake News, Millions
Reaching out to the old people, who are newly getting introduced to smartphones and social media is a challenge. Pixabay

Posts containing fake news continued to flourish on social media platforms after the end of the Lok Sabha elections that saw the Narendra Modi-led Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) returning to power with a massive win.

Celebrations followed the results that pave the way for Modi to become the Prime Minister of the country for the second consecutive term. Some distributed ladoos to celebrate the victory. A few others spread fake news.

A post claiming that “Welcome Modi Ji” has been written on all the city buses of London soon started doing the rounds on social media platforms.

The claims were found to be fake by fact-checking platform BOOM. The images used for the posts originated in 2015, when a bus named “Modi Express” was launched by the Indians living in the UK, the fact checkers found.

Some even circulated a video on Facebook that claimed that a Gujrati man got so elated with Modi’s re-election that he showered cash on people in Milton, Canada. The caption that accompanied the video claimed that the man made a lot of profit after the share market responded positively to Modi’s re-election.

BOOM traced the viral video to the Instagram account of a Detroit, US based man. It found that the video, originally shot in New York, was uploaded much before the election results in India were declared and it had nothing to do with the celebration of BJP’s victory.

On May 23, the day the results of the Lok Sabha polls were declared, a video that showed Modi with his mother went viral on Facebook. While social media users claimed that the video was shot after BJP’s landslide victory in the elections, fact checking website Alt News traced the video to 2014.

India Polls, Fake News, Millions
These forwards, many of which contained fake news, surged during the election time. Pixabay

BOOM also found that following the victory of the BJP, a quote that was falsely attributed to Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan in the past resurfaced on WhatsApp.

“I would leave India if Modi becomes the PM of this country,” the actor was falsely quoted as saying in the post that demanded that the actor should now “apologise or leave the country as PM Modi is back”.

BOOM traced the quote to a fake tweet and fake news report that celebrated the 2018 April Fool’s Day with the false information.

These posts, however, are only the tip of the iceberg. Many more fake posts are doing the rounds on social media with some even falsely claiming that six lakh votes polled in favour of Congress President Rahul Gandhi in Kerala’s Wayanad mysteriously disappeared from the records.

Also Read- Easing Fears in Wake of Data Breach Should be Priority, Says Researcher

According to BOOM Founder Govindraj Ethiraj, the spread of fake news reached an “all-time high” in the run up to the 2019 general election.

The flow of fake news after the election results suggests that the tide of misinformation on social media is unlikely to stop any time soon.

“The biggest challenge to fighting fake new is that over 300 million of the 550 million smartphone and broadband users in the country are low on literacy and digital literacy and are especially gullible,” leading tech policy and media consultant Prasanto K. Roy earlier told IANS. (IANS)