15:20 GMT30 July 2021
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    On July 19, at the IT & Security forum, EU Antiterrorist Coordinator Gilles de Kerchove got the chance to see how Israel has shifted from monitoring metadata to crunching social media information to keep the country's intelligence service one step ahead of potential terrorists.

    Israel is at the cutting edge of monitoring internet users to determine who might be likely to commit acts of terror, according to EU Antiterrorist Coordinator Gilles de Kerchove.

    The European Union has shown a keen interest in Israeli technology which monitors social networks, using internet activity to determine the likelihood that users will commit so-called 'lone wolf' terrorist attacks and flagging them for further review, Reuters reports Gilles de Kerchove as saying in a speech.

    Israeli's Security Service at one point concentrated on processing metadata, but after Palestinian street attacks, the Security Service began to shift towards analyzing social networks for information regarding planned terrorist attacks.

    “It is quite difficult to trace a potential terrorist who is not connected in any particular way to a terrorist group but was just inspired by their acts and only began to express some kind of commitment,” admitted Gilles de Kerchove at the 2nd International Intelligence and Special Forces (IT&SF) Conference in Tel Aviv.

    Internet providers shy away from monitoring traffic, as it is hard to identify necessary data among the vast array of accounts; it is more difficult, for example, than detecting the transfer of child pornography, which can be done automatically.  De Kerchove hopes to see the automation of social network data mining. Meanwhile, standards of European Civil Law standards differ from Israeli ones, and are geared at the protection of individual privacy, thereby hampering the implementation of such technology.

    “What we actually need is a collective international organization that will define shared security concerns,” told Israeli intelligence minister Yisrael Katz, while calling for cooperation all internet providers.

    Targeted monitoring

    According to an Israeli military expert who was a presenter at the IT & Security Forum, the targeted monitoring technology allows for the division of Internet users into three groups.  When users are flagged as attracting special attention, they are placed in the low-level “green alert”. The “red alert” is reserved for users whose behavior is so suspicious that a police inspection is considered necessary. If it can said that un-flagged users number just less than a million, “green alert” users will number approximately 20 thousand, and the “red alert” group would contain only 10 to 15 users.

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    Tags:
    Tel Aviv, Israel, Yisrael Katz, European Union, lone wolf attacks, Security alarm, intelligence agencies, terrorist act, terrorist groups
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