By now you will be aware that the UK has seen looting and rioting taking place across the country over recent days. We have already told you that some of those responsible have been trying to make money from goods stolen during the troubles. The violence was orchestrated by some people using social networks such as Research In Motions BBM. Now the UK Government could switch off Twitter and BBM during any more trouble.
British Prime Minister David Cameron has said today the Government is considering disrupting online social networking during civil unrest. According to Reuters similar moves are often condemned when done by other countries.
During the four days of civil unrest police and politicians said those involved in the troubles, often used such networks to organize where and when to start. Cameron told the British parliament today that they “are working with 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”.
Most of the trouble makers used BBM over Facebook and Twitter because its messages are encrypted and private. Militant attacks in India are thought to have been organized by people using BBM in the past. A couple of days ago RIM said it cooperates with law enforcement and regulatory authorities, but stopped short of saying whether it would hand over chat logs or user details to the police investigating the riots.
There have already been some arrests in the country from people using the likes of Facebook to incite violence. As people watched the events unfold on TV, they would have noticed how well organized the people responsible were. But social networking did have some good to play in the recent troubles, with many people taking to Twitter to organize cleanups of the affected areas of the looting.
What do you think should the British Government block social networking sites if there is any more trouble?
Also See: Twitter down in the UK momentarily