Kolkata Police hires IT experts to stifle online recruitment by terror groups

Kolkata, July 20: Seeking to keep a tight rein on the efforts of terror groups to "pick up" youths from the city through Internet, the Kolkata Police is recruiting around 100 software and networking experts on contract for its Special Task Force.

The West Bengal Home Department has given its green signal to the Kolkata Police for an immediate recruitment of 40 such experts on contract in the initial stage.

Kolkata Police hires IT experts to stifle online recruitment by terror groups.
The move was initiated after Kolkata Police Commissioner Rajeev Kumar stressed on the need for monitoring social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter where terror groups spot potential recruitees, a senior officer of the Force told PTI.

Kumar also emphasised on the need to keep a tab on hacking, networking, computer software and hardware.

"Suspect Facebook and Twitter accounts will be screened on a regular basis," he said.

He referred to a 2014 incident in which the cyber crime sleuths stopped the impending visit by three youths from Murshidabad district to Syria after they were wooed by ISIS leaders from that country via Facebook.

"We had monitored movement of the three youths through Internet surveillance and found that they were preparing to visit Syria. We stopped them through proper counselling," the officer said.

The STF had also, a few years ago, dissuaded a city-based girl from visiting Karachi where her Pakistani Facebook friend, a Pakistani spy, with whom she fell in love, lived.

"The girl was studying engineering in a reputed college and the Pakistani spy befriended her through Facebook and allured her to come to Pakistan. She had been desperate to visit the neighbouring country and in fact made all the arrangement," the officer said.

The girl's father, an officer in the state agriculture department had approached the city police who after vigorous counselling successfully managed to convince the girl about the true identity of her friend.

In December, 2014, the NIA arrested Mehdi Masroor Biswas, an electrical engineer posted in Birbhum who hailed from Bangalore, as he was tweeting to recruit for the ISIS.

The over 60 persons who would be recruited include a few chartered accountants to monitor crimes like bank frauds and share market-related wrong-doings.

Kumar during his earlier stint as the Joint Commissioner of Police in charge of the Special Task Force in 2009 had employed ethical hackers.

According to sources in the Kolkata Police, the data gathered and the results of monitoring of suspected accounts would be shared with other law-enforcement agencies like the National Investigation Agency (NIA).


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