Islamic State’s newest concern: Internet security – Los Angeles Times

The online conversation with the Mosul resident began with pleasantries. Yes, he was content under the rule of Islamic State, which overran the northern Iraqi city more than a year ago. But he soon cut things off.

“We’re not allowed to discuss matters like these with journalists, brother,” wrote the man, who declined to be identified for security reasons.

“I only responded to your request out of politeness,” added the man, whose Twitter account has since been deleted.

He quickly typed out the Twitter names of some of the Islamic State’s “official” journalists, suggesting them as sanctioned sources for information. Then he was gone.

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He had reason to worry: Islamic State, its sprawling territory constantly under threat by U.S-led airstrikes and assorted foes on the ground, has been ramping up internal security measures in an attempt to thwart would-be spies and informants in its midst.

As the group’s fears have risen, it has reined in use of social media and the Internet, while imposing ever-harsher punishments upon those suspected of espionage.

In mid-July, a notice from “The General Security Center” of Islamic State in Raqqa was delivered to Internet cafes in the city, the group’s de facto capital in Syria. The directive outlined a crackdown.

“Satellite Internet providers are obligated to remove WiFi-connections associated with Internet cafes as well as private Internet connections, even for soldiers of the Islamic State,” it said, according to pictures of the notice leaked by Raqqa Is Being Silently Slaughtered, a Turkey-based monitoring group that documents Islamic State’s reign in Raqqa.

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