IT experts say it is imperative to boost cyber monitoring to curb militant activities and other crimes.
Police officials responsible for curbing militancy also stressed the need to give priority to patrolling the cyber world rather than physical patrolling.
Officials at Counter Terrorism and Transnational Crime (CTTC) unit emphasized enhancing technical support along with increasing manpower to contain cyber crimes.
A CTTC official said currently militants are not capable of carrying out sabotage acts on a major scale. They cannot mobilize very well but they are trying to collect members.
The militants are now trying to motivate people through online or other sources. They are opening groups on Facebook and Twitter in pseudonyms and interact with people on numerous issues. But the militants are operating all activities from homes.
The CTTC official also said: “Suppose somebody plans an action against an atheist of their neighbourhood. The person makes preparation for the action alone and does not share it with anybody else.
They cannot train up and organize their members for operations as police catch on to their plans. They are caught by the police at the planning level.
“To thwart such acts police or intelligence officials will have to boost patrolling online or in the cyber world instead of physical patrolling. We have to put greater emphasis on more training and manpower.”
What IT experts say
IT expert Tanvir Hassan Zoha said: “Criminals are now working online not only in Bangladesh but around the world. These groups have separate web applications or apps financed by themselves. So it is evident how well organized they are.
“We need to use both hardware and software in the gateways to monitor their activities. It will then be possible to keep an eye on the digital activities of militants. We will also get to know the source of their funds."
But our open source intelligence is not available in these gateways, which is why we cannot track down terrorist and militant activities properly.
“We can work more effectively if we put their activities under surveillance by installing hardware and software in the gateway linked to law eenforcement,” Zoha said.
What does the CTTC unit say?
Alimuzzaman, deputy commissioner of the CTTC cyber crime unit, said: “We have been conducting online monitoring for a long time now. But the cyber world is vast and one can work there (cyber world) from any part of the world."
“We cannot stop all (crimes) but we are trying to stop them wherever we can. There are many sub domains within a domain. There is no scope to close them directly."
He continued: “WordPress is a blog site [sic] where there is much creativity. Many in Bangladesh now write in blogs and there is a lot of positive content."
“If we close WordPress it will stop the scope for expressing creativity for the writers and those who read these write-ups. So nothing can be done overnight."
The CTTC official added: “We are trying to filter in the main domain. Then we will see if we can do anything after contacting the related officials responsible for maintaining the blog sites. If we cannot stop the source, people will get the content."
Alimuzzaman said: “The Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) controls the gateways. Those who operate the gateways are also working on curbing militant activities."
“We have asked them to apply techniques to stop these activities. But there are many limitations. We cannot stop everything. We have to do it in phases. Our efforts are underway."
“We have given letters to the BTRC previously. We have also spoken to them regarding the matter. We are working on it. It will take time,” the CTTC official added.
Saheli Ferdous, assistant inspector general of police headquarters, said: “One of the main responsibilities of police is to monitor militant activities. We are collecting their information and strategies.”
The official said they are coordinating with related ministries and organizations in order to monitor the cyber world.
This article was first published on banglatribune.com