Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) supporters are sending up to 100,000 messages a day on social networking site Twitter to plan attacks, the European Union’s law enforcement agency chief has warned.
Europol director Rob Wainwright warned that ISIS – which most recently claimed responsibility for the deadly attacks on a Tunisia museum – is believed to have up to 50,000 different Twitter accounts tweeting up to 100,000 messages a day, the former intelligence officer told a BBC radio station.
“As the communications of terrorist networks and criminal groups have moved increasingly [online], it’s opened up a whole new wave of problems for us,” said Wainwright, in an interview broadcast on Sunday.
“There is a significant capability gap that has to change if we’re serious about ensuring the internet isn’t abused and effectively enhancing the terrorist threat.”
Current web data laws are “deficient,” and need to be re-examined to make sure security agencies can monitor all parts of the internet, he said, including the so-called “dark net” that enables users to use the internet anonymously on encrypted sites.
Europol – which supports police forces across Europe – is currently setting up a referral unit to earmark and shut down sites being used by organizations deemed to support terrorism.
However, the Hague-based Europol has no executive powers.
ISIS, who have taken over large swathes of Iraq and Syria and spawned splinter groups across the Arab world, is widely known to use social media networks to spread propaganda and draw in foreign recruits.