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Finding the Needle in the Haystack

IDF soldiers at computer (Photo: flickr/IDF)

The IDF's soldiers are not solely tasked with defending the Jewish state's physical borders. Many of them patrol the digital realm, as well. CBC's Derek Stoffel reports on Israeli soldiers who scour social media to find potential terrorists and prevent impending attacks that would target Israel and her people:

The young Israeli soldiers sitting in front of a bank of computers are logged into Facebook. But they're not checking their friends' status updates.

They're trying to prevent attacks against fellow Israelis.

Inside the command centre — called the "war room" — of an army base in the occupied West Bank, members of an Israel Defense Forces intelligence unit sort through thousands of posts on Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites, looking for digital warning signs.

"Words like, 'knife, bomb,' stuff like that," said Capt. Y, the commander of the IDF intelligence unit at an Israeli base near Beit El, just outside of Ramallah. (Israel's military prohibits revealing the full names of soldiers working in intelligence. We also weren't able to photograph him from the front.)

"We look for these words in the posts and that helps us determine who is more probable to commit something."

Israel has become a world leader in monitoring social media to try to predict and prevent attacks. Experts say other nations, particularly those in Europe, would benefit by emulating Israel in this respect as the threat from so-called "lone wolf" attackers continues...

Tags: IDF

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