British Prime Minister David Cameron wants to censor social networking services, like Twitter and Facebook. He's also conflating RIM's BlackBerry Messenger with that group. He seems to think it'll help prevent scumbag rioters and looters from organizing their criminal sprees.
- On the one hand, something must be done! (And this is "something".)
- On The Other Hand, isn't that exactly what Iran, Syria, and Egypt did during their uprisings?
Plus, today's skateboarding duck: Bullingdon jealousy...
Leo King reports:
As prime minister David Cameron vowed to clamp down...police forces told ComputerworldUK.com they were determined to make better use of technology. ... The forces are calling for people to identify the rioters...as well as inviting them to send in their own photos.
[Police are] closely monitoring Twitter, Facebook and BlackBerry Messenger for potential disruption. ... London’s Metropolitan Police, which was initially criticised for being slow to react to rioters’ planning on BlackBerry Messenger, is investigating those messages.
Peter Kafka's name seems somehow appropriate:
Cameron appeared to endorse the idea that...Facebook and Twitter...helped fuel the violence. ... And he floated the notion of government-sanctioned crackdown:
"So we are...look[ing] at whether it would be right to stop people communicating...when we know they are plotting violence, disorder and criminality."
Parmy Olson has a message for Cameron:
Good luck on that one.
Theresa May...is also due to meet with representatives from Facebook, Twitter, and [RIM] in the coming weeks to discuss the responsibility of social media if...used as a tool to fuel rioting.
David Lammy, a Member of Parliament for Tottenham, where the riots first started, has said [BlackBerry Messenger] should now be suspended, pointing out that many rioters who hit his constituency came far away.
And Zack Whittaker draws a Spring parallel:
[This] may come as a surprise, considering it was Britain who was first to condemn the use of limiting social media in Egypt during the uprising earlier this year.
Meanwhile, Chris Davies can scarcely believe his own ears:
This new angle by the UK government arguably shows a naivety in understanding exactly what “social media” [is], as well as ignoring the potential [that it has] demonstrated for positive reaction, such as the “clean up” squads.
How, exactly, “potential criminals” will be singled out and isolated has not been made clear.
And Kate O'Flaherty lays it on the line:
Any move to ban social networks would mark a huge shift in...policy, with free speech advocates unlikely to remain silent in the face of a new wave of censorship.
Today's Skateboarding Duck...
Don't miss out on OTOH:
- Follow @richi on Twitter
- Pretend to be richij's friend on Facebook
- Catch up with posts from the previous few days
Richi Jennings is an independent analyst/consultant, specializing in blogging, email, and security. His writing has previously won American Society of Business Publication Editors and Jesse H. Neal awards. A cross-functional IT geek since 1985, you can also read Richi's full profile and disclosure of his industry affiliations.