Around 1000 social media profiles are under scanner of Cyber Police Kashmir after investigators detected that content uploaded from these profiles has “potential” to disturb law and order in the Valley.
The Cyber Police has already registered a case regarding misuse of social media by netizens through Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) in Valley where social media platforms including mobile applications that allow peer-to-peer communication are banned for security reasons.
The investigators are scanning social media profiles; Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram and others and keeping watch on such profiles that upload posts having potential of causing disturbance in prevailing calm in the Valley.
“There are around 1000 suspected social media profiles which are under scanner for spreading rumors and other content that has potential to disturb peace ,” said a police officer.
On February 17 police registered FIR no. 01 of 2020 under section 13 Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 188, 505 of IPC and 66-A (b) of IT Act against various social media users who defied the government orders and misused the social media platforms by “propagating rumors with regard to the current security scenario of the valley, secessionist ideology and glorifying militancy.”
The Cyber police has questioned about dozen social media users in connection with the case.
The police officer said none was arrested in the case while investigation was underway to ascertain the original identity of users of suspected social media accounts.
Since social media platforms allow a person to use a pseudo name to hide his or her original identity, not all social media profiles are operated by users on their genuine names although many people choose of use their real identity.
But, with the use of latest technology including internet, the cops can trace users of social media accounts. Besides Cyber Police, Kashmir has a separate high-tech Cyber Forensic Division (CFD) at Forensic Science Laboratory in Srinagar that deals with lawful extraction of digital evidence from all types of digital media including mobile phone and computers.
The administration restored limited 2G internet service on mobile phones while barring access to all social media websites and mobile applications that allow peer-to-peer communication in the valley on January 25.
The internet access is allowed only on 1485 websites that have been white-listed by the authorities.
Police said the ban on social media was ordered to stop spreading of rumors having the effect of “causing social instability.
A tight surveillance is being maintained on social media and Director General of Police, Dilbag Singh had said on February 19 that cops were watching on to what extent the social media was being used “under tolerable limits” despite ban by government and there will be no leniency for those misusing the platform.
In order to bypass the official ban on social media, the netizens have been taking help of VPN applications to access social media sites and applications on their mobiles.
Inspector General of Police Kashmir, Vijay Kumar had said people were using the social media through VPNs and among them there are some miscreants who spread rumors, instigate people and some facilitate militancy activities in the Valley.