CBI tells govt to take steps to monitor social media

Security agencies handicapped with tech constraints: IB chief

CBI tells govt to take steps to monitor social media

With the growing misuse of social media to create trouble, the CBI has recommended that the government should take steps to “patrol and monitor” social networking sites and develop protocols for collection of information and intelligence from the public.

The CBI recommendations, made at the Directors General of Police conference in November 2013, were made public recently. 

The suggestions came at a time the security establishment had run-ins with social media operators on providing information, which the government has sought from them.

In the presentation, the CBI has identified a series of challenges posed by social media, including rumour mongering, instigating riots, flash protests, harassing women and children,disseminating false propaganda through fake accounts and creating fake accounts of people and organisations.

It cited the exodus of northeast youth from Bangalore and the circulation of a fake video during Muzaffarnagar riots among other things in this regard. 

With India estimated to have an internet population of 200 million, the CBI is of the view that there is a need to set up round-the-clock monitoring mechanisms at central and state levels. 

The government should also bring out a policy for using social media for outreach. The CBI said the government should also develop protocols for use of social networks for collection of information and intelligence from the public.

“Build capacities to patrol and monitor social media. Have working relationship with social media providers,” the CBI had said.

The agency also pointed out how technology was used to turn the tables on criminals. It cited the practices adopted by police in Toronto and New York for investigative purposes and identified 10 major cities of India using social media for citizen engagement in traffic regulation as one of the best practices adopted in the country. 

The CBI also commended the social media monitoring cells operated by police forces of Delhi and Mumbai.

The social media could be used in several ways for policing purposes, including retaining profile status updates, following a user and lawful intercepts.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde had on several occasions highlighted the problem of miscreants using social media to foment trouble in the country. 

Intelligence Bureau Director Asif Ibrahim had noted that security agencies in India were handicapped with technical and procedural constraints. 

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