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  • Shashank Mittal asked: What are the emerging threats to India's internal security in the wake of globalisation, regime changes in the neighbourhood, and emerging technologies?

    Shruti Pandalai replies: Globalisation, many would argue, is facing a backlash in the current global order in the aftermath of the Ukraine crisis as it amplified shifts already underway both due to the US–China split and the post-pandemic rewiring of economics and trade. Realignments and increasing focus among countries to look inwards, reshoring and building capacities to source and manufacture domestically and with trusted partners, have become an emerging trend.

    The Information Technology (IT) Rules, 2021

    The IT Rules 2021 seek to address cyber security concerns of the citizens without infringing on their privacy and personal liberties, while maintaining digital sovereignty at the same time.

    June 04, 2021

    WhatsApp’s New Privacy Policy

    WhatsApp’s updated terms of service and privacy policy raise important questions on data privacy and data security.

    February 19, 2021

    TikTok: A Ticking Bomb!

    TikTok has hooked youngsters around the world. What is worrisome is the lack of understanding about the long-term implications of such social media apps with regard to data protection and national security.

    December 24, 2019

    WhatsApp: One Call away from being a spyware

    The WhatsApp bug brings to light the same old dilemma between safeguarding individual privacy and enabling the state to undertake surveillance in the interest of security.

    June 03, 2019

    Curbing Fake News

    Eradicating the fake news problem calls for a collective effort of individuals, governments, social media and content platforms, and innovative technology solutions.

    July 11, 2018

    Influencing Electoral Outcomes: The Ugly Face of Facebook

    The Cambridge Analytica episode highlights the need to expedite the process of developing a data protection framework and probably amend the IT Act in accordance with the changing realities of cyberspace.

    March 26, 2018

    “What’s down” side of “What’s up?”

    Human rights, privacy and protection of confidentiality are important issues, but so are the requirements of intelligence agencies which have to contend with the inhumane activities of terrorist groups and individuals.

    April 07, 2017

    The 'Social Media' Challenge to National Security: Impact and Opportunities: A Conceptual Overview

    The monograph hopes to succeed in providing a conceptual framework to understanding this emerging challenge and draw up a set of best practices and recommendations for policy makers and law enforcement agencies to move forward with.

    2016

    Laxmi asked: How do social networking sites affect India’s security? Should it be regulated?

    Shruti Pandalai replies: Social networking sites (or social media) and the challenges that it throws up in the space of cyber-warfare are indeed issues that have drawn the attention of security and law enforcement agencies in recent times. The mass exodus of a number of northeast Indians from many parts of India in the aftermath of the ethnic strife in Assam, triggered by a cyber hate campaign in 2012, was a major turning point (for more on this, refer to my comment, “Don’t Shoot the Messenger: The ‘Un-Social’ Strategy”, at http://www.idsa.in/idsacomments/DontShoottheMessengerTheUnSocialStrategy...). However, from a long term perspective, shooting the messenger may not be the most ideal solution. As technology grows, so will the challenges. In such a scenario, engaging with the medium and optimising its potential for our advantage is the way forward.

    Social media analysis generated intelligence or SOCMINT is being developed as a successful model in many countries abroad to isolate hotspots or subjects that go viral and is used as a predictive tool. India too is looking at these models, but is still at the stage of experimentation, trial and error. The Mumbai Police has launched a project called “Social Media Lab”, the first of its kind in the country. The lab would monitor relevant information from Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, as well as all other open sources in the public domain. About 20 specially-trained officers are supposed to work in shifts.

    We need many more such pilot projects across the country to develop a truly credible data base and this will require huge investments in terms of both infrastructure and human resource. We also need to work on network availability constraints, language barriers and, most importantly, organisational adaptability in terms of this new medium. There are also pressing questions regarding rights to privacy, misuse of data and loopholes in the legal regime that needs to be navigated.

    This is still a work in progress, yet I believe engagement and not regulation is truly the way forward.

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