MARKETERS HAVE LONG been using software tools for profiling customers. Now governments and law enforcement agencies worldwide are heavily investing in technologies that use application programming interface, crawlers and charts to analyse social media users’ posts, tags, pictures and tweets for building profiles and carry out sentimental analyses to identify the causes they are against or sympathetic to.
In India, intelligence agencies and state police forces have set up social media monitoring labs to carry out overt, discreet and covert probes. These tools help cyber sleuths collect, analyse and segregate data. The cyber cell of the Delhi Police, for instance, has more than 250 people monitoring social media platforms through what it calls “social listening”—gleaning raw volumes of live data running into hundreds of terabytes. Occasionally, experts and volunteers are also being brought in to assist in monitoring the virtual world which has become the new battleground to shape public opinion, fuel sentiments, instigate agitations and wage proxy wars.
During the Delhi riots last year and the recent farmers’ protests, the cyber patrollers had a challenging job at hand, as social media was abuzz with rumours and propaganda.
The Delhi Police processed a large amount of data to identify the rioters in the first case. In the second, they arrested Disha Ravi, a 22-year-old Bengaluru based activist, for allegedly sharing a ‘toolkit’ with Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg, who tweeted it. A Delhi court, however, granted her bail saying there was “scanty” and “sketchy” evidence to back charges of sedition and asserted that citizens could not be jailed simply because they disagreed with government policies. The police now have the tough job of proving that the toolkit was prepared in collusion with Khalistan supporters and was part of a global conspiracy to defame India.
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SAFFRON ON RED
Can left veteran Ashok Bhattacharya overcome the BJP’s surge in Siliguri?
There is a pattern to the attack on Central forces in Bengal
Sunil Arora, who demitted office on April 12, chose THE WEEK for his last interview as chief election commissioner. He said he was anguished over the constant attacks the commission faced, especially from the ruling Trinamool Congress in West Bengal. He also said that the attacks on Central forces in West Bengal was worrying and had a pattern.
INDIA ON GUARD
THE SECOND WAVE OF COVID-19 CAUGHT US LACKING AND SLACKING. REINING IN A RESURGENT VIRUS WOULD NEED BETTER ADHERENCE TO SAFETY PROTOCOLS AND A MORE NUANCED APPROACH TO VACCINATION
No value in vaccinating everyone at this stage
The second wave hit India despite the vaccine rollout. And, vaccinated people are now getting infected. The vaccine was never expected to stop any wave, second or otherwise. All the Covid-19 vaccines available in the world right now have this handicap, that they cannot stop transmission of the virus. This is unlike the vaccines for polio or smallpox, which can interrupt transmission and thereby eradicate the disease eventually.
Fit for the future
DRDO labs are being closed or merged to prevent duplication and to focus on futuristic technologies
BRINGING MANHAS HOME
THE WEEK brings you the inside story of how a nonagenarian social worker, a tribal leader and a group of local journalists secured the safe release of Rakeshwar Singh Manhas, a CoBRA commando captured by the Maoists of Bastar
Fighting our people
CoBRA is burdened by law, which demands that it upholds the Constitutional and human rights of civilians. Naxals have no such burden
With K.T. Jaleel forced to step down as minister, the Pinarayi Vijayan government suffers a big blow at the fag end of its term
Due procedure followed in case against activists
THE 2020 DELHI riots, which claimed 53 lives, the farmers’ protest at the Red Fort and the arrest of activist Disha Ravi on sedition charges have all taken place during S.N. Shrivastava’s tenure as commissioner of Delhi Police. He spoke to THE WEEK about the status of investigations in these cases, monitoring social media and terror threats to the capital. Excerpts:
Picking up the pace of vaccinations is not only a health and welfare concern, but also key for India’s economic prospects
The Birds of Kanha
RAJESH MENON is a photographer from Delhi, who specializes in images from nature. Here he shares some of the beautiful birds of Kanha Shanti Vanam, the 1300 acre property outside Hyderabad, India, that is the international headquarters of the Heartfulness Institute. It is also a green sanctuary.
ANIRUDH DHANDA explores the way memories trigger heartfelt events and people from the past, and remind us of situations that evoke emotional responses. Is this what being human is all about?
El derecho a estar segura
Desde que un ataque horrendo conmocionara a India, las mujeres de ese país han demandado -y obtenido- más protección frente al acoso y el abuso en espacios públicos,
Building A Sporting Nation
Marathons are changing the shape of the nation. We ask the brains behind the Delhi and Mumbai Half Marathons, how exactly.
Plea To Save Migrants, Daily Wagers From 2020 Re-run
Cooked meals, ration sought in letter to CM
Rain Gives Some Relief To Pandemic-Ravaged Delhi
Minimum Dips To 20°C After Thunderstorm, Dust Storm
Update Info On Beds In Real Time, Don't Miss Any Helpline Call: CM
Kejriwal Directs Officials To Reach Out To Every Patient In Home Isolation
PM Reviews Oxygen Status, Production To Be Increased
New Delhi: PM Narendra Modi reviewed the status of oxygen availability across 12 high-burden states and asked officials to ensure synergy across ministries and state governments to ensure adequate supply. He also called for seamless and free movement of tankers carrying oxygen throughout the country.
Lockdown Violators May Face Arrest: Police
Police personnel check vehicles in Connaught Place as a 55-hour-long lockdown began in New Delhi on Friday night
Capital Logs Highest Single-Day Spike Of 141 Deaths, 19,486 Cases
Halls, big grounds in each district to be converted into Covid centres like the one set up at the Commonwealth Games Village in East Delhi last yr