India has joined a major global initiative to combat terrorism and extremism online and secure the internet. The initiative — ‘Christchurch call to action’ — has been named after the New Zealand city where 51 people were killed in an attack on mosques. It was launched in Paris yesterday by India, France, New Zealand, Canada and several other countries. The declaration said the internet is, however, not immune from abuse by terrorist and violent extremist actors, and there was a need for collective efforts globally to secure the internet from terror groups. The countries which were of the initiative expressed commitment to ensure effective enforcement of applicable laws that prohibit the production or dissemination of terrorist and violent extremist content, in a manner consistent with the rule of law and international human rights law, including freedom of expression, according to the declaration. In this era of information technology no communication app is safe. Despite all the security checks the vulnerability of the most used communication app remains open to tamper with. Today hackers are able to exploit a flaw in the system to read the messages of a target’s device. It would be of little comfort to the users that it is likely that specific types of people were targeted, while the general public was not. It is evident that even as lip service is paid to cyber security, not enough is done. The companies that provide various services are mainly to blame, but so are individual users who fail to update the security patches made available to them. It is ironic that our use of cyber facilities increases dramatically even as the notion of online privacy becomes more and more nebulous. Hackers with malicious intent steal online information to exploit and trade, as do various commercial and governmental assets. The user is vulnerable and is likely to remain so, and the companies that provide various services will not be able to provide the security they promise.
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