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Sunday, November 24, 2013

Social Media for Intelligence gathering, Propaganda and Crime control by Police

We have commonly seen that in developing societies the institution of the police lacks the initiative to make optimum use of technology and social media.

Extremist groups fight simultaneously at the physical level and on cyberspace. To execute their immediate agenda and launch attacks, the terrorists make use of physical space, sometimes for a few hours, or a few minutes.

However, in order to wage a psychological war they ensure their continuous presence on social networking sites. The proliferation and effects of such sites have generated a new debate on how to counter their presence and ensure surveillance of social networking sites.

Referring to the Rawalpindi incident on Muharram 10, the Punjab law minister condemned the negative use of social media. There is an impression that social media fanned the flames of hatred after the incident.

An example from India would be useful in this regard.

In September, hate-inciting, fake YouTube videos and doctored photographs were used to cause widespread rioting in Muzaffarnagar, UP. Fifty people lost their lives.

To reinforce their influence, extremist groups increasingly rely on social media but our law enforcement and regulatory agencies still don`t know how to tackle the challenge.

Social media can be effective-ly used to bring the police and community on one page. In mega urban centres, apart from the physical presence of the law enforcers, people expect the online presence of the police.

Technology has introduced innovations but also added to the existing challenges facing law enforcement officers. At the other, end, extremists have easily moved from websites to more active social media.

Recently in Nairobi, militants attacking a shopping mall used social media to claim responsibility.

The Syrian Electronic Army, a group of computer hackers, has resurfaced with a different account after their previous one was suspended by Twitter. Misuse of social media for furthering its mission has resulted in a global debate on how to regulate unbridled social media sites.

Social media has enabled protesters to quickly organise and communicate with each other. To keep the protesters under control, police must know how to monitor these types of communications. Further, social media sites are also helpful in identifying witnesses, victims and perpetrators.

Police need to learn quickly about social media to keep pace. Many police forces around the world have started to use it for engagement, intelligence and investigation, and often release pictures or videos of wanted criminal and terrorist suspects on their websites.

The websites of police departments in Pakistan, on the contrary, are neither public friendly nor interactive.

This is a pity as police websites could help in the introductionof e-policing in urban areas.

In the case of emergencies, sites such as Twitter and Facebook are effective ways to disseminate crime alerts, investigation updates, safety alerts and to counter propaganda.

According to a study conducted by the International Association of Chiefs of Police, `81pc of 728 [US police] departments surveyed said they used social networking`.

To detect criminal activities many countries have equipped and empowered law enforcement agencies to monitor social media. To identify rioters in the 2011 riots, the London Metropolitan Police used social media during the investigation process. Help was taken from the extensive CCTV network that captured images of the rioters and these images were posted online with an appeal to the public to identify the suspects.

On the eve of mega events like the G20 conference and London Olympics, the London police monitored sites using Radian 6 and Repknight software. During the Olympics, the police monitored 32 million social media articles and 10,300 tweets.

At home, in the age of mass communication, our law-enforcement agencies lack clearly defined media policies. In the absence of such policies, police are facing persistent and blatant bashing on the media.

Communication is important for effective policing.

Gone are the days when police officers seeking information depended solely on khuli kutcheris or `open courts` and touring villages. Traditional methods can be retained but social media would be a critical addition to the current means of policing. Increasedpublic say and interaction will automatically help improve relations between the law enforcers and the community.

Social media sites have proved helpful in the collection of evidence. It has also helped identify the location of suspects. Several criminal cases have been cracked thanks partially to social media, as police kept tabs on suspects, the less sophisticated of whom bragged about their exploits and updated their pages naming the people and places they had visited.

According to the findings of a four-year study comparing the effects of social media and radical ideology, social networks were the major drivers behind the evolving of violent extremists. More than 100 current and former extremists were interviewed for the study, which found that social media enabled people to develop associations with extremists and terrorist groups.

Says Greg Barton, the director of Australia`s Monash University`s Global Terror Research Centre, `Terrorists and radicals are often lonely individuals who lack any sense of belonging`. Consequently, those with such inclination are easily trapped by extremist organisations often through social media.

Many websites in Pakistan inject extremism, and there`s no reason why the police should not counter this negative narrative through the same means by promoting deradicalisation via social media.

In other words, social media can be effectively used for peace.• The writer is a deputy inspector general of the police.

Social Media “Tactical Intelligence Collection”: Spying and Propaganda using Facebook, Twitter

This path-breaking article was first published by GR in February 2012.
new study by the Mediterranean Council for Intelligence Studies’ (MCIS) 2012 Intelligence Studies Yearbook points to the use of social media as “the new cutting edge in open-source tactical intelligence collection”. IntelNews.org’s Joseph Fitsanakis, who co-authored the study, reports:
We explain that Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and a host of other social networking platforms are increasingly viewed by intelligence agencies as invaluable channels ofinformation acquisition. We base our findings on three recent case studies, which we believe highlight the intelligence function of social networking. (Joseph Fitsanakis, Research: Spies increasingly using Facebook, Twitter to gather data, intelNews.org, February 13, 2012)
What the study fails to mention, however, is the use of social media by intelligence agencies for other purposes. The study leads us to believe that social media is solely an intelligence gathering tool, when in fact, a number of reports have shown that it is used for propaganda including the creation of fake identities in support of covert operations. Those practices are discussed in Army of Fake Social Media Friends to Promote PropagandaSocial Media: Air Force ordered software to manage army of Fake Virtual People and Pentagon Seeks to Manipulate Social Media for Propaganda Purposes, published on Global Research in 2011.
The MCIS study is partly based on the “Arab Spring” framework which allegedly “prompted the US government to begin developing guidelines for culling intelligence from social media networks”. (Ibid.)
Again, this leaves out the fact that the U.S. Government provides “activist training” to foreign nationals to destabilize their country of origin. This tactic is detailed in Tony Cartalucci’s latest article,Egypt: US-funded Agitators on Trial: US “Democracy Promotion” = Foreign-funded Sedition.
“Cyber dissidence” is sponsored among others by CIA-linked Freedom House. The First of The Bush Institute’s Human Freedom Events, Co-Sponsored by Freedom House was titled “The Conference on Cyber Dissidents: Global Successes and Challenges”.
The Conference on Cyber Dissidents highlighted the work, methods, courage and achievements of its eight dissident guest speakers, from seven nations. Five of these nations are places where freedom has been extinguished (all rated “not free” by Freedom House): China, Cuba, Iran, Syria, and Russia. Two others are places where freedom is in peril (both rated “partly free” by Freedom House) because of an authoritarian government accumulating more power, as in Venezuela, or because of the threat of internal terrorist groups, as in Colombia. (The Conference on Cyber Dissidents: Global Successes and Challenges, The George W. Bush Presidential Center)
Countries where “freedom has been extinguished” and which are U.S. allies, such as Bahrain or Saudi Arabia, are not listed above. The only U.S. ally listed is Colombia and its freedom is said to be threatened by terrorist groups, rather than by its governement. It is worth noting that the Colombian government has been accused of spying on its journalists and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) says freedom of expression ‘barely exists’ in Colombia.
The goal of “activist training” by U.S. NGOs is to destabilize America’s political enemies in the name of freedom. “Cyber dissidence” is in turn used by intelligence agencies for covert operations.

کھلا خط پاکستان کے نام
پاکستان کی ترقی ، خوشحالی اور امن کے لییے کچھ بنیادی معاملات طے کرنا ضروری ھیں. اس وقت پاکستانی سوسائٹی فکری طورپرتین بڑے حصوں تقسیم ہو چکا ہے : ایک طرف  "اشرافیہ , لبرل طبقہ"   دوسری طرف "خاموش اکثریت" ؛ تیسری طرف "مذہبی  شدت پسند دہشت گرد اور ان کے ہمدرد". ایسے حالات میں ضروری ہے کہ کنفیوژن کو دور کیا جائے تاکہ اکثریت ایک نقطہ نظر پر متفق ہو  جائے. اور پھر تمام توانایوں کو مرکوز کرکہ عظیم مقاصد ، امن . خوشحالی . ترقی کی طرف رواں دواں ہوں. اگر ہم کچھ بنیادی سوالات کا جواب موجودہ تناظرمیں قرآن سنت کی  روشنی میں معلوم کر لیں. ان پر قومی مباحثہ ہو جس میں میڈیا ، دانشور ، مذہبی سکالرز علماء ، سیاسی مفکرین ، سول سوسائٹی ، فوجی ماہرین ،  قانون ، خارجہ امور کے ماہرین اور تمام دوسرے متعلقہ ماہرین  اور عوام حصہ لیں . پھر جس پر سب یا اکثریت متفق ہو ان پر پھر ڈٹ کرعمل کریں تو پاکستان ایک ترقی یافتہ باعزت ملک، قوم  بن سکتا ہے. بنیادی مکالمہ کےسوال درج ذیل ہیں ....
کھلا خط آپ کے نام، پاکستان کے لیے :
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