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‘Terrorists Using Social Media, Dark Web To Recruit New Members’ – Communications Minister Pantami

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Isa Pantami, Nigeria’s minister of communications and digital economy,  has said that terrorists now use social media as a medium for communications and the recruitment of new followers who will commit crimes in Nigeria.

Pantami while delivering a lecture on leadership in counter-terrorism and counter violent extremism in Abuja, on Tuesday, February 12, 2020, said, “It is evident that terrorists are exploiting social media, encrypted communications, and the dark web to spread propaganda, recruit new followers and coordinate attacks”.

The minister noted that this rapidly evolving phenomenon requires the use of innovative approaches to both “counter” and “prevent” terrorism and extremism.

According to the minister, the development of new and emerging technologies such as, “Big Data Analytics, Internet of Things (IoT), Robotics, Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence (AI),” will help counter and prevent the terrorists’ latest ploys.

He said the military and intelligence agencies can use big data to fight the war against terrorism. Data can be analyzed to understand background, motives, modus operandi and methods of communication of persons or groups of interest.

Dr Pantami cited an example of a project by the Qatar Computing Research Institute, in which big data was used to scrutinize and analyze social media such as Facebook and Twitter in order to locate the origins of supporters of the terrorist organization ISIS.

Pantami explained that today, internet access is available to wearables and household devices such as fridges and washing machines, the IoT technology can easily be used for monitoring, location tracking, identification, surveillance and gaining access to networks.

He added that the advent of the Internet of Things (IoT) presents the connection of devices to not only the Internet but also to each other, adding that IoT enables increased convenience, efficiency, and energy conservation.

The minister further stated that the massive increase in computing power and advances in machine learning have made it possible to examine huge amounts of data related to crime and terrorism, to identify underlying correlations and causes.

He urged the security agencies in Nigeria to tap into the resources availed by technology and use them as potent tools for ousting the insurgents from the country.

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