British Government Ultimately Decides Not to Restrict Social Media
Earlier this month, when the London riots were in full force, the Prime Minister David Cameron entertained the idea of restricting social media interactions because the networks were being used to organize attacks and perpetrate other illegal activities. Now, a few weeks later, the decision has been made to abandon those plans and leave social media networks untouched. After talks with representatives from Facebook, Twitter and RIM, it was announced that the government would "not seek any additional powers to close down social media networks."Read on...
Essex Police Arrest Man Trying to Organize Water-Gun Fight
Last Friday, an Essex man was arrested when he tried to arrange a large water-gun fight using BlackBerry messages. Police in England have been a little uptight ever since the rioting started, and it seems likely that this has to do with the resulting proposed social media restrictions. The man was charged with "encouraging or assisting in the commission of an offence." He's been bailed and is scheduled to appear before magistrates early next month.
This may seem a little overboard, but it's worth noting that in 2008 a water-gun fight was successfully organized in London and it got violent, so they sort of have a point. The real question is where this information came from. It's no secret that rioters and looters have been using social media for the purpose of planning illegal activities, but its unclear whether or not law enforcement has started monitoring them. On the subject of monitoring BBM, the Essex police department spokesperson dodged the question, saying the following:
Essex police use appropriate measures for whatever the crime and wherever our investigations lead us.
(via The Guardian)Read on...
Manchester Police Turn to Twitter and Flickr After RiotsWhile the UK government considers the possibility of restricting social media during crises, the Greater Manchester Police (GMP) have embraced it as a tool to prosecute, and publicize the prosecutions, of those involved with the recent London riots. The GMP's approach seems to be two-fold: First, the police are tweeting out the name, date of birth, and neighborhood of residence of those they've arrested. This might seem shocking to American audiences, but the GMP are adamant that they are simply fulfilling their legal obligation to publish the information of those found guilty. They maintain that the date of birth and home information is intended to prevent confusion between people with the same name as those who have been arrested. Quoting from their Twitter feed, the police say, "Lot of debate about publishing details - courts very clear, justice should be done publicly." Their second social media prong is a Flickr account with photos of unidentified suspects from the riots.Read on...