New Delhi: External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said on Saturday that the Internet and social media platforms have become powerful tools in the toolbox of terrorists and armed groups to spread propaganda, radicalization and conspiracy theories aimed at destabilizing societies.
The minister spoke at a special meeting of the Committee on Combating Terrorism of the UN Security Council.
“In recent years, terrorist groups, their ideological companions, especially in open and liberal societies, and lone wolf attackers have greatly improved their capabilities by gaining access to these technologies. They use technology and money, and most importantly, the ethos of open societies, to attack freedom, tolerance and progress. The Internet and social media platforms have become powerful tools in the toolbox of terrorist and armed groups to spread propaganda, radicalization and conspiracy theories aimed at destabilizing societies.
Terrorism, he said, remains one of the most serious threats to humanity. Over the past two decades, the UN Security Council has developed an important architecture, built primarily around the terrorism sanctions regime, to combat this threat. This has been very effective in drawing attention to those countries that have turned terrorism into a state-sponsored enterprise.
“However, the threat of terrorism is only growing and expanding, particularly in Asia and Africa, as highlighted in the successive reports of the 1267 Sanctions Committee’s monitoring reports,” he added.
The minister said that the technological innovations and breakthroughs of the last two decades have changed the way the world functions in every aspect. These new and emerging technologies – from virtual private networks and encrypted messaging services to blockchain and virtual currencies – offer a very promising future for a wide range of economic and social benefits for humanity. “However, there is a flip side, especially when it comes to terrorism. These same technologies have also presented new challenges to governments and regulators due to their potential vulnerability to abuse by non-state actors, given the very nature of some of these technologies and the emerging regulatory environment,” he added.
Another addition to existing concerns for governments around the world is the use of unmanned aerial systems by terrorist groups and organized crime networks. “Being a relatively cheap option and increasingly accessible, the misuse of these unmanned aerial platforms for criminal purposes by terrorist groups, such as the delivery of weapons and explosives and targeted attacks, has become an imminent danger. Hence, they are a challenge for security agencies around the world. The possibilities of using armed drones for terrorist purposes against strategic, infrastructural and commercial assets require serious consideration by Member States,” said EAM.