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UK To Shut Down Social Networks? 403

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the because-they-can dept.
Stoobalou writes "In a move worthy of China's communist regime, UK PM David Cameron wants to shut down social networks whenever civil unrest rears its head in Britain's towns and cities. Speaking in the House of Commons, Cameron said, 'Everyone watching these horrific actions will be struck by how they were, organized via social media. Free flow of information can be used for good. But it can also be used for ill. So we are 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.'" So far I haven't heard anyone blame the Rock 'n Roll music, but if social networks aren't a good enough culprit, you could also try blaming video games.
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UK To Shut Down Social Networks?

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  • China? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by creat3d (1489345) on Thursday August 11, 2011 @08:41AM (#37055426) Homepage
    Worthy of China? Sure, but Egypt was the first time that came to mind while watching this disgraceful session live... that didn't work too well BTW.
    • Can we mod down TFA as trolling? While I don't disagree with certain sentiments about several communist regimes, I don't think the analogy particularly has a place here. The main difference, of course, as that the UK PM is discussing the action before just plain doing it without informing the public.
      • Re:China? (Score:5, Funny)

        by elrous0 (869638) * on Thursday August 11, 2011 @09:20AM (#37056068)

        The main difference, of course, as that the UK PM is discussing the action before just plain doing it without informing the public.

        Yes, it's always so much better when the rapist let's you know he's going to rape you before he does it.

    • Re:China? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by WrongSizeGlass (838941) on Thursday August 11, 2011 @08:48AM (#37055552)

      Worthy of China? Sure, but Egypt was the first time that came to mind while watching this disgraceful session live... that didn't work too well BTW.

      What these so called "leaders" don't understand is the same social networks used to organize these actions are also being used by the public to warn each other about where these attacks are taking place, where to avoid and calling their friends & neighbors to arms to help them protect their families, homes and businesses.

      • by Baloroth (2370816)

        calling their friends & neighbors to arms to help them protect their families, homes and businesses.

        Are you sure that isn't part of the reason they want these networks shut down? I wouldn't have thought it few years ago, but then I wouldn't have thought the UK government would call to shut down social networks either.

        Maybe I should have. Orwell did set 1984 in England, after all.

        • by Culture20 (968837)

          calling their friends & neighbors to arms to help them protect their families, homes and businesses.

          Are you sure that isn't part of the reason they want these networks shut down?

          No doubt. People that can organize against rioters can organize against oppressive regimes.

      • Re:China? (Score:4, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 11, 2011 @09:06AM (#37055842)

        What these so called "Slashdot commentators" don't understand is that he's talking about blocking individuals from social networks, not blocking the social networks themselves. But why let the facts get in the way of a good YRO bullshit rant?

        • by baKanale (830108)

          ...he's talking about blocking individuals from social networks, not blocking the social networks themselves.

          Blocking individuals from social networks is still stupid, since it removes a source of intel about what the rioters are planning. Besides, it's not like they wouldn't find other ways of communicating if they couldn't get on Twitter.

        • Re:China? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Dorkmaster Flek (1013045) on Thursday August 11, 2011 @09:39AM (#37056346)
          That's even less feasible than shutting down the networks entirely. How will you figure out who is participating in the attacks and who is just reporting on them and trying to warn others? By hand, maybe, but you won't have the response time to deal with it. If you automate the process, you're going to silence people trying to report on what's happening or warn others. And of course, you'd still need the cooperation of Twitter or whatever social network you're talking about to make all this happen. This is a really stupid idea any way you slice it.
        • by anyGould (1295481)

          What these so called "Slashdot commentators" don't understand is that he's talking about blocking individuals from social networks, not blocking the social networks themselves. But why let the facts get in the way of a good YRO bullshit rant?

          From TFA:

          Although the Old Etonian didn't give any clue as to how he intends to block use of the likes of Twitter, Facebook and BlackBerry messenger - which have all been implicated in the mob's ability to stay 17 steps ahead of the cops as they turn up hours after the nation's shops and businesses have been picked clean by gangs of feral teenagers - but the only way we can see it working is if the entire cellular network is turned off in affected areas.

          No, they're not talking about turning off one guy. The

          • by nabsltd (1313397)

            They're talking about blacking out communications. And let's be honest - they're not going to just turn off the cell network; to do this right you'll have to kill landlines as well.

            Sounds like professional criminals would like this sort of thing to happen, as it would make things like alarms less useful, and would prevent people from calling the police.

        • by mapkinase (958129)

          "that he's talking about blocking individuals from social networks"

          I did not find anything about this in here: http://www.thinq.co.uk/2011/8/11/cameron-threatens-shut-down-uk-social-networks/ [thinq.co.uk]

          Could you please provide a specific quote from URL that says that or provide another URL?

      • Re:China? (Score:5, Informative)

        by Tapewolf (1639955) on Thursday August 11, 2011 @09:07AM (#37055856)

        What these so called "leaders" don't understand is the same social networks used to organize these actions are also being used by the public to warn each other about where these attacks are taking place, where to avoid and calling their friends & neighbors to arms to help them protect their families, homes and businesses.

        They do. I've been listening to the parlimentary debate (which has now shifted to the economy) and this fact has been pointed out several times - by MPs.

        From the debate, it sounds to me more like they want to somehow censor (or monitor?) its use for criminal activity, without preventing people from organising the clean-up operations or similar things. That's the impression I got, anyway.

        • by jmorris42 (1458) *

          > > What these so called "leaders" don't understand is the same social networks
          > > used to organize these actions are also being used by the public...

          > From the debate, it sounds to me more like they want to somehow censor (or monitor?)
          > its use for criminal activity...

          No, I suspect the original poster is right. These riots aren't caused by facebook or twitter and the sad fact that the looters are organizing there doesn't change the fact that the government has proven it lacks the will t

      • Re:China? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Xest (935314) on Thursday August 11, 2011 @09:13AM (#37055960)

        I think they do understand it, it's just that the summary has, as is routine on Slashdot, taken the worst possible misinterpretation of what was said.

        Reading the story about it on the BBC, and other comments surrounding it sounds like they're merely just considering what can be done about people who use such tools to organise trouble.

        It doesn't sound like they're looking at making much of a stretch from where we are now - where, police can arrest someone, release them on bail, and ban them from using a computer as part of their bail conditions. Realistically, knowing politicians, it'll just be something as impotent as introducing ASBOs that ban computer usage for a fixed period or something silly like that.

        Certainly I don't think it's clear that they're planning to just try blanket prevent access to sites like Facebook etc.

        Of course it's possible I'm wrong, time will tell I guess. But far more often than not when Slashdot has jumped to the extreme interpretation of something related to British politics it's not actually turned out that way in practice.

        Besides, that's one thing I really don't think they'd be able to get past their coalition partners, although I suppose they may not need to, it's the sort of thing Labour would probably back too I guess going on their past track record.

        The organised cleanups were far more prominently featured as a benefit of social networking, and involved far more law abiding citizens than there were rioters during this whole debacle so people aren't going to let that be lost on the politicians.

        • Re:China? (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Cimexus (1355033) on Thursday August 11, 2011 @09:55AM (#37056600)

          Exactly right. Slashdot always does that: takes the worst possible misinterpretation of anything that a government, or anyone even vaguely related to government, says. Especially non-US governments. Even if it was an off hand comment, mere suggestion, or slip of the tongue from some random MP with negligible political influence, the Slashdot headline will read as if it is already an enacted, freedom-crushing law. Even if it's obvious to blind Freddy that it has no practical possibility of ever becoming reality.

          That is the case here: Cameron knows full well that you can't 'shut down' social networks (you block one site/protocol/etc, and another pops up to take it's place - it's like the pointless battle against torrent sites etc.) He's just trying to score some political brownie points with certain segments of the population.

          See also: compulsory Australian internet filter (which never existed, never had any hope of existing, and was never actually even introduced into Parliament as a Bill, let alone passed - but many on Slashdot who just read the headlines no doubt thought, and still think, that Australia has some kind of government-run filter). A couple of particularly vocal politicians were pushing it, but it could never have got through the Senate. In the end it became nothing more than a voluntary filter, blocking the tiniest handful of sites, and implemented by just two ISPs (who did so for their own commercial reasons, not due to a law).

      • by hjf (703092)

        We should ban TV too...

        • by Dunbal (464142) *
          Heh or at least the news. I couldn't believe my ears this morning watching CNBC - that clown Jim Cramer was actually trying to make an argument for news channels to not report bad news when the markets were volatile. Jeez when the fuck did we start needing kid gloves for absolutely everything? I'm starting to think that that Norweigan nutcase, though certainly not justified in murdering people, had a valid point to make...
    • by Shrike82 (1471633)
      As many others have said, there's a distinct difference between shutting down communication mediums to stop people fighting for freedom from an oppresive regime, and shutting down communcation mediums to stop people from organising looting and other self-serving crimes. It depends on your point of view, and I'm not saying that it's right in either case, but these ridiculous comparisons to dictatorships trying to stop their citizens from overthrowing them are oranges and apples.
      • Re:China? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by EasyTarget (43516) on Thursday August 11, 2011 @09:03AM (#37055794) Journal

        many others have said, there's a distinct difference between shutting down communication mediums to stop people fighting for freedom from an oppresive regime, and shutting down communcation mediums to stop people from organising looting and other self-serving crimes.

        That's what the Chinese say too.. and Mr Mubarak, the Bahrain medievalists etc.. they all say something just like that before trying to suppress riots caused by their states systemic failings.

      • by elrous0 (869638) *

        Yeah, the difference is in who gets to define the terms. I'm pretty sure Mubarak would have pointed to the looting of the Egyptian Museum and shops in Cairo as evidence that the people in the streets were nothing more than criminals too. There were plenty of looters, arsonists, and even rapists in those Egyptian crowds too.

        One man's freedom fighter is another man's criminal.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by elrous0 (869638) *

      Egypt was completely different. You see, they were a government we that was *not us*. So when they did it, it was oppression. When *we* do it, it's a necessary step to maintaining public order. See the difference?

    • Re:China? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Dunbal (464142) * on Thursday August 11, 2011 @09:19AM (#37056060)
      That's ok, I'm waiting for the UN to draft a security council resolution that permits any and all means necessary to support the protesters and enforces a no fly zone on the UK.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by poity (465672)

        We'll just have to wait for Cameron to deploy the army and then go on air to rant for 4 hours straight vowing to "cleanse Tottenham house by house"

        Evidently there are quite a few people living in democracies who are so full of self-hatred that they would vote your post "Insightful" rather than "Funny"

  • by Greyfox (87712)
    Bad news for the "Lootbook" IPO!
    • by Joce640k (829181)

      Wouldn't it be better to listen in to the messages and use the info to catch people in the act?

      Even better, send false info, tell all the rioters to go to a certain place at a certain time ... where the police vans will be waiting for them.

      • by Pieroxy (222434)

        Precisely. This is the same battle as the battle against piracy and the battle against child porn. By banning the stuff, you just force people to cloak themselves making the identification of the offenders just more... difficult for the authorities.

        Oh well. The concept seems a little too advanced.

  • Why not just leave them turned on and arrest all the morons who are stupid enough to organize crime on a public website that is well known to co-operate with the police. I can't imagine what better evidence of intent there is then:
    " 'Ello Mate, let's go bust up a Tesco, g'day, Tally-HO!"
    (that's what english people sound like I think we all know)

  • Argh (Score:4, Interesting)

    by SpooForBrains (771537) on Thursday August 11, 2011 @08:45AM (#37055492)
    As soon as people started muting shutting down Blackberry Messenger, I had a bad feeling that this bullshit would follow.

    The politicos don't understand the role that social media and internet communications play in people's lives. They wouldn't suggest shutting down the POTS network, or the postal service. Well, actually, that's giving them too much credit. They'd probably suggest exactly that.
    • damnit, *mooted
    • Oh, yes they do understand them. Social networks are a powerful communications tool, as powerful as the "official" media. Why do you think the first thing many Middle Eastern countries where protests erupted did was to block access to these services? The trouble with this is that, once you've set the precedent for blocking them in one situation, it becomes easier to do it in others. Riots? Sure. OK, what about during big protests that are turning ugly? Sounds good. Then what about big protests that

    • They wouldn't suggest shutting down the POTS network

      Either you're very young, or you've not studied history or telecoms. POTS networks in the USA and UK were designed to be able to be restricted to emergency services and government use in times of civil disturbance throughout the cold war, and probably after.

      Anyway, I'm glad Cameron has done this. Maybe now people will start thinking before opting in to centrally controlled communication systems in the future...

  • by AngryDeuce (2205124) on Thursday August 11, 2011 @08:46AM (#37055510)
    It's gonna be happening here, too. We'd better start coming up with alternative ways to communicate, because I have no doubt in my mind that they'll be yanking our network down when the shit hits the fan on our shores...
    • by Necroman (61604)

      IRC!

      There are hundreds of communication protocols and apps that use the internet, it is really just a matter of the people you want to communicate with to know to use the same protocol/application. If Facebook or other sites get shutdown in a crisis, people will find alternatives. The only way for the government to really stop the "bad guys" from communicating with one another is to shut down all communication channels. Which will in-turn stop everyone else from communicating.

      Also, there are what, maybe

  • that's not enough! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 11, 2011 @08:47AM (#37055536)

    Mr Cameron, the problem starts with the fact that those criminals can READ and WRITE. This is a risk we can no longer allow!
    Please, for the sake of our lives, CLOSE ALL SCHOOLS IMMEDIATELY before they can release EVEN MORE CRIMINALS upon us!

  • ...riots NEVER happened before the invention of social networking.
    And you know, cutting off the ENTIRE INTERNET for Egypt totally stopped the riots there too.
    I swear, is there some rule saying you have to be technologically retarded to get into politics?
  • Wait, what? (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 11, 2011 @08:49AM (#37055570)

    What on gods earth?

    I was watching the debate live, and the feel of the speech was really not like this at all. Throughout twitter and facebook were praised, especially things like the london clean up efforts organized through twitter. In fact it was somewhat reassuring to see that they sort of knew what they were talking about. The measures talked about were primarily disabling masts in rioting areas so that communications would be ceased, nowhere near 'banning' social networks. Honestly, the feel of the speech was aimed towards leveraging them for good. It was said that they would be talking to them directly to see if together they could tackle issues, such as images/videos glorifying the acts.

  • ...and route around it accordingly. If our PM were being slightly smarter than all the previous ones since the war, he'd attempt to identify and treat the causes of the unrest, rather than try to stop the channel through which it's operating. You know, fix the huge social imbalance that years of neglect have wrought on our society? No - that would take too long to have the kind of effect that he needs to keep him in power.
    • The old "networks route around damage" meme is a lot of feelgood cyber-hippie talk that is only true if you're trying to intercept the communications of top-level uber-geeks. Mainstream communications systems are quite hierarchical and easy to disrupt.

      Cutting off the communications of dumb chavs is quite simple (although again, I don't think it should be done).

    • If your politicians had any brains they wouldn't be teaching your citizenry to depend on government for everything.

      They would be teaching them that government can't possibly afford do that job, and because teaching people to be self-supporting and self-sustaining raises their self-esteem and confidence. Creating a welfare state kills individual initiative and ambition. It does nothing but teach people they can't succeed without the government babying them along and creates the expectation in society that

    • by ISurfTooMuch (1010305) on Thursday August 11, 2011 @11:15AM (#37057918)

      That is only true if you have a multitude of independently-controlled routes data can take to travel from one point to another with no one central point that can fail, either accidentally or deliberately. That was the original idea of how the Internet would be constructed, but it isn't how it works today, at least not on the consumer side. So, unless you have multiple connections not controlled by a single entity coming into your house (and a government counts as a controlling entity, so getting connections from multiple providers under its jurisdiction doesn't count), and, unless the site you want to visit is networked the same way, your statement means nothing.

      Actually, this old meme, IMHO, is dangerous. It implies that censorship can't happen, which is most certainly not true. This leads people to take threats of censorship less seriously because they mistakenly think that the censorship efforts will be futile, which is also not true. Sure, someone with enough knowledge and determination might get around it, but most folks won't. Ask the North Korean authorities about that. I'm sure they know that information still leaks in, but enough people are prevented from getting at it to make their censorship regime effective.

  • hyperbole (Score:5, Insightful)

    by spikenerd (642677) on Thursday August 11, 2011 @08:50AM (#37055604)
    quote by Cameron:

    we are working... to look at whether it would be right to stop people communicating via these websites and services

    Article title:

    Cameron threatens to shut down UK social networks

  • by fredrated (639554) on Thursday August 11, 2011 @08:50AM (#37055608) Journal

    After all, phones can be used to organize opposition! So can copiers, and printers. Also cars and busses take people to protests, those must be stopped! In fact any item of technology ever invented can be used to oppose those in power, so we need a universal device that can kill all technology so the people in power will feel less threatened! Everyone can just sit on their hands until the threat passes.

  • by DJRikki (646184) on Thursday August 11, 2011 @08:52AM (#37055640)
    http://www.wired.co.uk/news/archive/2011-08/11/david-cameron-social-media [wired.co.uk] "Prime Minister David Cameron has told parliament that he is investigating whether to stop people communicating via social networking sites ****if they are known to be planning criminal activity****."
  • first of all i would like to applaud westerner's hypocrisy - while promoting social media outlets for people on the east, they are strongly opposing them at home.

    secondly i'd like to note that all those people using social media to organize looting and whatever not through unrest in the UK - police needs no face recognition, while they have CDRs and other logs from telecoms. all they need is to see who posted to twitter at a given time, and what IMEIs and phones were registered to gsm cells in the looted ne

  • by syousef (465911) on Thursday August 11, 2011 @08:55AM (#37055678) Journal

    What the fuck has happened to all the western governments and what do they think they'll be able to achieve with increasingly draconian police state style laws? It boggles the mind. What will the puppet masters do once they've finished stringing up the puppets. It's not as if they don't have all the power they need to do all sorts of nasty things as it is. Why do they keep pushing for more? It makes no sense. It'd be like Bill Gates with all his billions scheming to mug people on the way home from work to increase his wealth. Meanwhile they let the economy fail and public infrastructure, education and health crumble.Gated communities aren't much good to you if there's no one left to buy things from. Idiots.

    And the goddamn tech-bashing? What the fuck? On the one hand money frittered away on Internet services no one needs (see Australia for a prime example) and on the other lock down the net with fucked up filters that make it useless and stifle the very freedoms that have made it a success. What have these people been smoking?

    • It isn't as simple as "oppressing the citizenry". That isn't how it works. The problem is that many people want to feel "safe", whatever that means. Look at all the gated communities out there and the hysteria that arises whenever the topic of crime, sex offenders, or terrorism comes up. Hell, my in-laws just moved into a house in a lower middle class, racially-mixed neighborhood in town, and a friend of mine went to great lengths to tell me that they shouldn't be buying that house because of all the cr

    • What the fuck has happened to all the western governments and what do they think they'll be able to achieve with increasingly draconian police state style laws?

      Those governments are flailing helplessly against a rising wave of discontent, so much seems obvious to me. They're like those parents whose baby won't stop crying, and they slap the child or beat it, or even kill it in frustration. It's heinous and despicable, but there's no clearer sign of incompetence, IMO.

      The underlying cause of the failing economies, crumbling public infrastructure, and diminishing quality of education and health care may be found in the fact that we're outsourcing all of our manufactu

  • Since some of these social networks are trying to hide behind freedom of expression and the like (which I am not sure how similar Britain's laws are) it does not protect them from private parties.

    While I am not a fan of the government trying to shut down some of these services, I do expect these services to have a process in place to shut down users who they are informed about using their sites for organizing willful destruction of other people's property, let alone their lives.

    Freedom does not excuse one f

  • by Rik Sweeney (471717) on Thursday August 11, 2011 @08:57AM (#37055716) Homepage

    Sod video games, I've got the whole lot here in one handy wheel [parallelrealities.co.uk].

    Simply give it a spin and there's your culprit.

  • You would be opening a can of worms by doing this. Rioting has happened many of times before social networks. Did they aid in the organization of the event, yes, were the people rioting the ones who started the event, no. Their event was a peaceful protest and people took advantage of them being organized. The police caused this by killing an unarmed man and planting a gun. Maybe Cameron should think about investigating the police force and people won't rise up against them.
  • When Egypt shut down their network to deal with protesters, the west was quick to say that's the response of a dictatorship and that it was morally wrong. Likewise when other countries shut down their social media to deal with protests.

    And yet, a few rioters in London and suddenly we're more than happy to do exactly the same thing. I saw a headline where Iran was asking the UN to intercede on behalf of the UK rioters. http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2011/aug/10/uk-riots-iran-un-mahmoud-ahmadinejad [guardian.co.uk] Isn't th

    • Isn't this hilarious how we were angry at how Iran cracked down on protesters during their election, but we are more than happy to do exactly the same thing for a few looters.

      Note the (presumably subtle) distinction between peaceful protesters (such as Iran was cracking down on) and violent looters (such as the UK is thinking about cracking down on).

      Note also that noone got upset when the Brits were peacefully protesting. It was the arson, robberies, assaults and such that upset people.

  • It worked in Egypt, right?

    Would David Cameron apologize for causing such a thing, or blame it on hooliganism?

  • Isn't it common practice to shoot looters on the act? Or does that only apply in war? Protesting is one thing. Looting hard working social peers is way off limits AFAIK.

  • by KermodeBear (738243) on Thursday August 11, 2011 @09:07AM (#37055866) Homepage

    Why on earth would these people throw away free intel?

    If anyone can join these social networks and see what is being planned then so can the government. The police forces can arrive early and be more than ready for all of the rioting idiots that show up. If I were in a position of power I would be thrilled to have such a vast amount of free intelligence available to me.

  • by Dark$ide (732508) on Thursday August 11, 2011 @09:10AM (#37055914) Journal
    RTFA and you'll see three names: David Cameron, Teresa May and Keith Vaz.

    Between the three of them they don't have a brain cell to rub together about how the Internet works, how folks use the Internet or how services like Twitter, FaceBook, Linked-In, Google+, Flickr, Wordpress (or unpteen other publicly accessable websites) work. They weren't able to effectively block those sites in my son's secondary school (because the kids knew how to find and use an open unblocked proxy).

    They are also clueless about how folks use those things from their mobile phones.

    Quite simply this won't work unless they get a pair of bolt croppers and physically sever the cables across the Atlantic, English Channel and North Sea (which would take out the POTS with it). They'd also need to shoot down a few satellites while they're trying to disconnect things.

  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Thursday August 11, 2011 @09:11AM (#37055928) Journal
    Aside from the obvious: "Why, yes indeed, a few million in property damage that our entire city worth of riot cops, grown fat on years of kettling peaceful protesters, are too feckless to stop is more than enough to make me do arbitrarily draconian things! It is my pleasure to offer ammunition to enemies of human rights everywhere!" aspect, this just seems enormously tactically idiotic. Social networks are only the most powerful development in the history of western civilization when it comes to suppressing the activities of dumb kids...

    Why would you possibly want to shut down social networks or other electronic messaging systems? They are all run by relatively supine corporations, willing or eager to cooperate with police in turning over user data, and almost none of them(certainly none in common use) offer any security to users against operators(some, like BBM, offer pretty good security against 3rd parties, and even basic cellphones offer some; but all common electronic communication mechanisms are essentially transparent to their operators).

    Why would you want to drive people away from the highly transparent, easily logged-for-evidence-purposes, often comes with realtime location data and strong correlation with unique ID, electronic communications and back to informal, somewhat inefficient to use; but damned difficult and time consuming to use for evidence, face-to-face or other informal systems?

    In the moment, electronic communication is a boon to rioters, offering swift coordination that the cops seem incapable of matching. In the medium term, though, the state can simply sort through the records, systematically compiling compelling evidence of guilt, attached to timestamps, locations, and IDs, and then bag your ass at their leisure, any time before the statute of limitations, if any, runs out. Ma Bell and Mark Zuckerberg don't forget, and that "private" checkbox is pretty much cosmetic. You are Fucked if you coordinate your unlawful activity electronically.

    Why does Cameron want to discourage this spontaneously constructed Benthamite paradise and encourage a return to coordination that will require enormous humint efforts on the part of the police(and I'm sure the Met cops have no shortage of agents who blend right in with disaffected minority youth...) to unravel, or (less probably; but even worse for the cops) some of the yobs actually learning something about communication security?
  • Typical politician showing how ill informed he is. Blackberry Messenger and mobile phones were the tools used to organise this, not Facebook and twitter etc. If Blackberry and the phone companies had just introduced a random lag of 10 minutes + 0 to 15 mins to the messages it would have gone a long way to neutralising it as an organising tool without complete shutdown.
  • "So far I haven't heard anyone blame the Rock 'n Roll music, but if social networks aren't a good enough culprit, you could also try blaming video games." Love the snide tag there, Taco. While the discussion of turning off the social media is one that is disturbing, do you think they are considering this in response to some hooligans who are staying out late, smoking a cigarette or three? Perhaps you missed the chavs and chavettes stating that this was about showing the rich and the police that this was
  • I am hopeful that the government is only raising this to appease those who genuinely believe it's a good idea, while planning to dismiss it later "after consideration" as being unnecessary.

    Apart from the fact that it's basically technically impossible to "block Twitter/FB" (or whatever) in any meaningful way - and everyone knows it - I don't think it would have made any difference to the rioting.

    After all, there have been riots and unrest for centuries. However, the post-riot organised cleanup could not ea

  • They're not saying that the social networks are causing the civil unrest, what they're saying is that they're allowing those organizing it a much easier time communicating plan changes as it goes on. Shutting down those lines of communication would make it easier for the authorities to stop the unrest.

    That makes sense. The government's job it to keep order and this is one way to aid that when things get out of hand. Remember the UK does have a very real terrorist threat in Northern Ireland. They need to thi

  • by Torodung (31985) on Thursday August 11, 2011 @09:27AM (#37056158) Journal

    They should open a new site for the serious social looter. The CaseBook. It could index enhanced reality overlays ($$$$) to Google StreetView data.

    And I wonder how long until football hooligans start organizing flashsbrawls? Anyone?

    There is an issue here. I saw it the day I witnessed my first flashmob. My reaction was not, "Cool." It was "Uh oh, how long until others, with less scruples, target someone." This is new territory. Organized gang activity just got access to constant realtime intel. I pray that we (society) will figure out how to deal with it without shutting it all down. In the meantime, keep an eye on police brutality, kids. This is a deadly serious game.

    "Four dead in Ohio" serious. Stay safe.

  • 1) Find a way to monitor communications around illegal activity (or activity you don't like)
    2) Shut it down
    3) Criminals find/create a new way to communicate that can't be shut down (or monitored as easily)

    I don't think he has the arguments nailed down yet. He needs to toss in some details on how it's used for child porn - that'll get support to shut down just about anything.

  • If they shut down social networks, hooligans will sign in to an anti-social network.
  • We are being buried beneath the avalanche of your inadequacies, Mr. Creedy!

    What we need right now is a clear message to the people of this country. This message must be read in every newspaper, heard on every radio and seen on every television. This message will resound throughout the entire InterLink.

  • On Tuesday night I was following various friends on Facebook posting details of trouble they'd heard about. At least one person knew to avoid the local town centre, as they heard, via FB, that there were large numbers of youths gathered there and trouble looked likely.

    The local police have a twitter account, and were using it to dispel invalid rumours of trouble. They were also receiving messages of support.

    Social networking is just another method of communication. If Cameron is serious about it, he should

  • by Aphrika (756248) on Thursday August 11, 2011 @09:55AM (#37056612)
    There was nothing in his speech about shutting down networks, merely targeting those inciting violence and disorder.

    In that respect, it's bringing social networking in line with other UK media which are also bound not to incite violence etc. It's certainly not a shutdown of a service in any way.
  • by geekoid (135745) <`moc.oohay' `ta' `dnaltropnidad'> on Thursday August 11, 2011 @09:58AM (#37056660) Homepage Journal

    Everything I have listened to regarding the events in London show quite clearly the people in charge are delusional.

    There has been no one talking about the larger issue, everyone is pretty much blaming parents.
    You have a large disenfranchised segment of the population. Why? That must be addressed or you will have a large disenfranchised adult population. Putting restraint on the group as a whole for the actions of a few will only disenfranchise and anger more people in the group. They will become adults, and their kids will be disenfranchiosed. It will get worse.

    Then ramrodding people through the system with little real evidence is just wrong.

    Yes, they should be appropriately dealt with; however punishment through fines or jail time may not be the best response. It would be better to work with them so they feel they are part society. THAT is better for the larger society.

    I'm not sure which member of parliament was talking, but his assumption was anyone pickup is guilty and should have any rights. I found that appalling.

    And yes, parenting holds some responsibility, but you don't raise a child on an island. You and your child are impact an influenced by society.

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