Internet is ubiquitous. It is an uncontrollable space, beyond the purview of any Government or corporation and Social Networking is one of the repercussions of it. No doubt, Social-Networking has affected (and continues to do so) million of lives across the globe. It has boomed in recent years as it has allowed network of like-minded individuals to collaborate and connect regardless of their respective geographies or physical location. These groups are bonded by common interests and passion and Social-networking via internet has provided a perfect channel to advertise their thoughts.
Considering the unprecedented global reach and scope, which the Internet and thus Social-network provides to millions of users, it does not come as a surprise that Militants and other Extremists groups are increasingly using sites such as Facebook, Twitter, MySpace and YouTube as a medium to recruit or influence new members.
The recent bashing against India by some Pakistani militant outfits like Jamat-ud-Dawa and Sipah-e-Sahaba in their Facebook page substantiates the point. These extremists groups have targeted younger, more educated followers by using every aspect of social networking to denounce our democratic establishment and kindle the old hatred. So far, Pakistan Government has failed to restrict these organizations from accessing the web space. Indian security agencies consider these rambling as a major threat to National security and are keeping a close eye on these developments. But the fact that the setup exists in the cyberspace makes it impervious to threats and resistive actions.
The history of this kind of digital terrorism dates back to 1995 when first extremist website went online and as the Internet became more advanced, these websites grew in number and technological sophistication. But the greatest increase of this digital hate has emerged from the proliferation of social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter. With more than 500 million users accessing these sites, it has become extremely challenging to locate these hate groups and remove them. Even though Facebook and Twitter have tried hard to eradicate the objectionable content but it is clear that sometimes, even the best efforts cannot remove the problem.
Internet is all about information and freedom to share it. It has influenced our belief and perception. But like all other innovations, this too is a double edged sword. There is no such thing as an invention whose potential for good cannot be perverted for evil. There is a growing concern amongst the security agencies about the ways Internet power can be used for exercising terror, which is not unfounded. We are faced with some serious security issues but we will have to be sensible in dealing with them. For example, Banning access to these websites can only be a short term solution and an ineffective one. But a more prudent approach would be to find a solution without rolling back the technological gains.
So what do you think -Can technology provide an answer to our growing security concerns?