Thursday, August 11, 2011

UK Government May Block Social Networks And Messaging Service To Prevent Riots

Appalled by the rioting that swept across Britain earlier this week, the government want to find out if censoring social media sites could help prevent them from happening again. Good luck on that one.
Prime Minister David Cameron didn’t go into details of what that might mean in practice, only to say in a recalled Parliament this afternoon that the government was looking into “whether it was right” to stop people using social media to “plot” further disorder.

“Everyone watching these horrific actions will be stuck by how they were organised via social media,” he said. “Free flow of information can be used for good. But it can also be used for ill.”
He added the ruling conservative government was “working with the police, the intelligence services and industry to look at whether it would be right to stop people communicating via these websites and services when we know they are plotting violence, disorder and criminality.”

The country’s home secretary Theresa May, the de facto head of the country’s police services, is also due to meet with representatives from Facebook, Twitter, and BlackBerry in the coming weeks to discuss the responsibility of social media if they are used as a tool to fuel rioting.
BlackBerry has already come under fire in recent days after it emerged that many perpetrators of the riots spread the word about targets using its BBM encrypted messaging service. David Lammy, a Member of Parliament for Tottenham, where the riots first started, has said that service should now be suspended, pointing out that many rioters who hit his constituency came far away.

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