New Delhi: Cyber security and misuse of social networking sites was one of the main focus of the top police brass who gathered here for an annual conference as government made it clear that freedom of expression cannot be explained for spreading mishievous rumours to foment trouble.
Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde, while addressing the chief of police forces who gathered for three-day meet of Directors General and Inspectors General of police here, said that as the country moves along the path of modernisation newer challenges emerge.
"Government has succeeded in increasing the density and spread of internet connectivity to village level. This has made us prone to sophisticated cyber crimes and attacks.
"Extensive networking of computer systems, particularly in sensitive areas has increased our vulnerability to such attempts from hostile elements. Security agencies and police forces would need to develop expertise for a coordinated response to counter these problems," he said at the conference being organised by Intelligence Buerau.
Shinde said a related issue was that of misuse of social media and added that "while government favours freedom of expression, mischievous use of this medium to foment trouble needs to be checked.
"Last year, social media was exploited by vested interests to generate fear amongst the people of the North East in Bangalore...More recently, the Muzaffarnagar riots were fanned by similar misuse."
On the subject of misuse of cyber space, Shinde drew attention to attempts being made to revive militancy in certain places by unleashing distorted narrative about emotive events and issues on internet to mislead and misguide youth.
"One such sinister attempt was nipped in the bud by an alert Punjab Police. It had come to notice recently that in Punjab some self-radicalised groups had made attempts to vitiate the atmosphere by targeting some important leaders.
"We need to closely monitor such situations arising out of the pernicious propaganda circulating on certain websites," he said.