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Technology Blamed For Helping UK Rioters

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the don't-post-angry dept.

Crime 682

Hugh Pickens writes "The WSJ reports that following three nights of rioting and looting in London, Blackberry's messaging network and social networking sites are being blamed by police, politicians and media organizations for helping rioters in London spread word about the next hot spot . It's an 'encrypted, very secure, safe, fast, cheap, free, easy way for disaffected urban youth to spread messages for the next targets,' says Mike Butcher, editor of TechCrunch Europe and digital advisor to the Mayor of London. But Ian Maude, an analyst at Enders Analysis, said it's unfair to lay the blame on technology. 'Certainly, it's a lot easier for people to communicate with each other in real time via some of these services but that's a fact of life. They're not good or evil in themselves, its the purposes for which people use them.' The Metropolitan Police, known as Scotland Yard, say they are monitoring social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook. Research In Motion Ltd. (RIMM), the maker of Blackberry smartphones, says it has 'engaged with the authorities to assist in any way we can.'" An anonymous reader points out that the rioters aren't the only ones using technology. London police have begun posting pictures on Flikr of people they'd like to interview following the riots over the last few days.

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682 comments

Technology Blamed For Helping UK Rioters (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37032822)

And technology was equally blamed for helping UK police.

Just another example where technology changes nothing. It just enables all the good and bad impulses inherent in humanity.

Re:Technology Blamed For Helping UK Rioters (2, Interesting)

datapharmer (1099455) | more than 2 years ago | (#37032994)

Yep, I think the real problem here is that the rioting started as a response to (real or perceived) police violence, and the reaction was "add more police" and the situation got worse. Rinse, repeat. This isn't a problem of technology, this is the equivalent to trying to put out a fire at an oil refinery by adding more gas.

Re:Technology Blamed For Helping UK Rioters (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37033170)

Hahahaha, oh wow, my God, I seriously hope you're trolling. Are you honestly suggesting that looting and rioting is a valid response to a known violent drug dealer being shot in a planed Police operation? Are you seriously suggesting that the correct response to people rioting, looting and fire bombing buildings is to remove the Police and let them got on with it?

The Met are considering the use of baton rounds if it kicks off again tonight. Baton rounds? Fuck that, hand out live rounds and shoot the fuckers in a the shin. Lets see them carry off a plasma TV then.

Re:Technology Blamed For Helping UK Rioters (1)

digitig (1056110) | more than 2 years ago | (#37033298)

I'm glad that somebody knows what happened, because nobody actually involved seems to </sarcasm>. Even the Met admitted that they handled it wrong.

Re:Technology Blamed For Helping UK Rioters (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37033174)

Clearly sending the police to handle violence or rioting was a mistake, but the Girl Scouts were already deployed to their cookie selling stations.

Re:Technology Blamed For Helping UK Rioters (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37033148)

The disturbing part is that the police and more importantly the politicians are focusing on the tactics being used rather than the underlying causes of social unrest. How about figuring out why you have disaffected youth rather than how they are effective at being disruptive.

Re:Technology Blamed For Helping UK Rioters (4, Insightful)

Dexter Herbivore (1322345) | more than 2 years ago | (#37033248)

How about figuring out why you have disaffected youth rather than how they are effective at being disruptive.

The job of the police isn't to determine why, it's to stop it from happening. The police are doing their job. The 'why' is only for politicians to work out and try to address.

Re:Technology Blamed For Helping UK Rioters (1, Troll)

JockTroll (996521) | more than 2 years ago | (#37033286)

And the job of the politicians is to keep the British Upper Class safe from those 'orrible low-income people. By Jove, torch those filthy street urchins! They're spoling my afternoon tea!

Re:Technology Blamed For Helping UK Rioters (1)

Churnits (1922258) | more than 2 years ago | (#37033262)

How about we stop them from burning the whole fucking place down first, THEN think about how to avoid it reoccurring.

Re:Technology Blamed For Helping UK Rioters (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37033278)

Underlying cause of social unrest and disaffected youth my arse. This is thieving cunts who think they have a right to anything for free.

I call bullshit (4, Insightful)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 2 years ago | (#37032826)

Blaming technology for the rioting is bullshit. You have to have people willing to riot and loot in the first place, this just helps them group together....

But more than that, the real bullshit is that in any group that size, there's no way the communication is "secure", in fact it MUST be broadcast (by tweet or whatever) where anyone could see it. Yes that lets rioters group but it also SHOULD give police a heads-up where to be. If technology is to blame for the riots then the police are almost as much to blame for allowed the riots to occur when the targets are handed to them on a digital platter beforehand.

Re:I call bullshit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37033292)

Speaking from the UK, there really hasn't been that much blaming of technology, at least from what I've seen. Actually, everyone seems quite clear on who is to blame: those doing the rioting.

round 'em up (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37032830)

Send fake messages about the next location and be there waiting...

Re:round 'em up (2)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 2 years ago | (#37032984)

and pay some inciters to heat things up, a bigger riot will afford more police the opportunity to look like heroes. Maybe even stage another shooting.

Re:round 'em up (1)

Dexter Herbivore (1322345) | more than 2 years ago | (#37033002)

At this point, regardless of individual beliefs... I'm sure that they would prefer to NOT have rioting than incite more riots.

Re:round 'em up (0)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 2 years ago | (#37033212)

The UK has been moving to becoming a police state, more riots could speed things along for those in power to move the agenda along. Similar to situation we have here in USA, where FBI and Homeland Security find impressionable punks of low-intelligence, fill their heads with violent talk, provide them with weapons or fake bombs and plans for attempting to use the same, then arrest the lot with fanfare and accolades and mutual back patting all around. Thus providing justification for more funding, more stringent measures, less liberty, etc.

Re:round 'em up (1)

Grumbleduke (789126) | more than 2 years ago | (#37033068)

And the more riots there are, the more chance for the AP et al. to get nice pictures to license out to the tabloids for tomorrow's front pages. Earlier, apparently, Sky News had a ticker thing listing places that didn't have police protection, until importantish people complained [twitter.com] and it got taken down. But then, that's what comes from having mainstream media more interested in selling newspapers than anything else.

The thin veneer of civilisation (5, Insightful)

petes_PoV (912422) | more than 2 years ago | (#37032834)

A few months ago the western world wailed loudly when some arab countries terminated internet and mobile phone connections because it was thought to be assisting their local rioters. Here we have a supposedly democratic country where, at the first sign of trouble, government officials are suggesting exactly the same thing.

Re:The thin veneer of civilisation (4, Informative)

gibletparade (1033096) | more than 2 years ago | (#37032940)

But these people are not using tech to organise a campaign for democracy. They are living in a democracy, using tech to organise theft and destruction of that democracy.

It isn't Aung San Suu Kyi we're dealing with here. It's these clueless bitches: http://audioboo.fm/boos/434411-leana-hosea-speaks-to-croydon-looters-on-bbcworldservice [audioboo.fm]

Who is suggesting terminating connections? I'm happy with tapping.

Re:The thin veneer of civilisation (0)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 2 years ago | (#37033210)

You think there wasn't any looting or burning the Egyptian protests?!?!? Ha ha, why don't you ask Zahi Hawass (head of the Egyptian Museum) what he thinks [drhawass.com] of all those wonderful heroic protesters for democracy?

Face it, when revolutionaries are protesting against a government you like--you call them criminals/looters/thugs. When they're protesting against a government you don't like--they're freedom fighters/heroes/protesters.

Re:The thin veneer of civilisation (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37033232)

I hope you die in a fire

Re:The thin veneer of civilisation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37032944)

Absolutely, spot on!

Use the technology against the little brats.

Re:The thin veneer of civilisation (1)

medv4380 (1604309) | more than 2 years ago | (#37033130)

It'll bit them soon enough since some were foolish enough to post their loot on facebook. Really? They have no idea what this tech is capable of and it's just going to be used to root them out once everything is said and done.

Democracy doesn't guarantee freedom (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37032992)

In many ways it's starting to look like the exact opposite. As a realist, I have long believed that the class or style of government is largely irrelevant, and should be regarded by every citizen as irrelevant. Freedom is the bottom line. Period. If my god-given right to freedom (natural human right if you prefer) is respected by a monarchy more than a democracy, would I rather live under the rule of the monarchy? You're damn right I would. I've only got 80 years on this planet, and I'll be damned if I'm going to waste it on pipe-dream ideology (like the quaint notion that democracy is automatically more "respectable" than monarchy).

Re:Democracy doesn't guarantee freedom (1)

Dexter Herbivore (1322345) | more than 2 years ago | (#37033266)

You seem to be missing the point that the UK is both a democracy and a monarchy... it's a constitutional monarchy.

Re:The thin veneer of civilisation (4, Interesting)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 2 years ago | (#37033094)

All I know is that it's good when kids use it to fight the power in countries whose governments we don't like. But it's bad when kids use it to fight the power in countries whose governments we do like. And it's downright fucking criminal if any thug punks *dare* to do it in *OUR* country!!!

Kind of reminds me of the old Reagan days--when labor unions were awful in the U.S., but wonderful in Poland.

Re:The thin veneer of civilisation (1)

Bob the Super Hamste (1152367) | more than 2 years ago | (#37033134)

But you don't understand we as the western world liked those Arab rioters, these ones in London must be mentally disturbed individuals who are bent on bringing down western civilization. If left to their own devices dogs and cats might start getting along. In a free country one should not be able to freely assemble and petition their government.

Now that I have that out of the way this seems like the perfect reason to crack down and expand police powers. While there is a difference between protesters and rioters it isn't hard to turn the former into the latter if the situation is already charged. As I haven't been following the story very closely I don't know how these riots have been playing. Buy hey government perspective why let a good crisis go to waste.

Re:The thin veneer of civilisation (2)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 2 years ago | (#37033244)

From reading the article (which I head to search for through Google because it was subscriber locked), no one is suggesting terminating phone or internet connections. Do you have other sources of information?

The most likely explanation is that the police can't handle these riots, they don't have a large enough force to stop them from happening. So they are trying to stop people at the source, keep them from getting organized. Which actually they can't do either, but they are hoping that by making a big noise about how they are spying in the Blackberry network, and on Twitter and Facebook, enough people will get scared that they've lost their anonymity that they will stop going online to organize. It might work, if the people don't feel strongly enough about whatever issue is causing them to riot.

Re:The thin veneer of civilisation (1)

jpapon (1877296) | more than 2 years ago | (#37033300)

I agree, it's quite hypocritical. The one major difference is that police haven't started to fire live rounds into the crowds.

Of course, if you look at some of the comments posted on the Guardian's website, you'll find that there are plenty of people screaming that the police should do exactly that. "Just start shooting". Sometimes I really wonder about the human race...

Re:The thin veneer of civilisation (1)

Deviate_X (578495) | more than 2 years ago | (#37033304)

A few months ago the western world wailed loudly when some arab countries terminated internet and mobile phone connections because it was thought to be assisting their local rioters. Here we have a supposedly democratic country where, at the first sign of trouble, government officials are suggesting exactly the same thing.

I don’t know who was wailing, but privileging and terminating communications is a valid and good and peaceful way to disrupt social unrest. Rather than simply starting to shoot at people.

Logic and reason (1)

grimmjeeper (2301232) | more than 2 years ago | (#37032844)

But Ian Maude, an analyst at Enders Analysis, said it's unfair to lay the blame on technology. 'Certainly, it's a lot easier for people to communicate with each other in real time via some of these services but that's a fact of life. They're not good or evil in themselves, its the purposes for which people use them.'

How dare he bring logic and reason into the argument! Who does this guy think he is?!?

Yawn Yawn Yawn (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37032848)

"The WSJ reports that following three nights of rioting and looting in London, Wooden 2x4s are being blamed by police, politicians and media organizations for helping rioters in London smash cars . It's an 'anonymous, very secure, safe, fast, cheap, virtually free, easy way for disaffected urban youth to break windscreens,' says Mike Butcher, editor of TechCrunch Europe and digital advisor to the Mayor of London. But Ian Maude, an analyst at Enders Analysis, said it's unfair to lay the blame on 2x4s. 'Certainly, it's a lot easier for people to smash up cars. They're not good or evil in themselves, its the purposes for which people use them.' The Metropolitan Police, known as Scotland Yard, say they are monitoring hardware stores such as B&Q and Home Depot.

Re:Yawn Yawn Yawn (1)

Dexter Herbivore (1322345) | more than 2 years ago | (#37033038)

Soon, They'll make bigger boards and bigger nails, and soon, they will make a board with a nail so big, it will destroy them all!

err. (2)

EasyTarget (43516) | more than 2 years ago | (#37032852)

20 years ago the same area erupted in rioting.. Those rioters used social networking rather than social media, they knocked on doors, chatted in groups, and then went off to find trouble. None of them had mobiles then.. didn't stop the riots. Political action and talking did that.

Idiots Blaming Objects Operated By People (5, Insightful)

cosm (1072588) | more than 2 years ago | (#37032868)

Guns blamed for helping gunmen shoot people.
Bombs blamed for helping suicide bomber blow up.
Planes blamed for helping people crash planes.
Fire blamed for helping people start fires.
Phones blamed for helping people coordinate bad things.
Internet blamed for child pornography proliferation.

How about this?
Sensationalist media blamed for making everything a scandal or a controversy!

People wanting to ignore and pass off responsibility just fire the blame cannon everywhere. Why are they rioting? Why is there so much civil unrest in England? Are the English that repressed that this is a cry-out for help? Or is this all being blown out of proportion, and the riots are really just a couple of small groups causing trouble. Personally, I think the PoliceState in that country has spiraled out of control, and now there is a growing underground movement with there backs to the wall, so we are seeing the rebellion swell as more and more dissenters act out the only way they personally feel they can. How about looking at the fundamental causes for societal unrest, lets analyze the sociology of the The Land of the Panopticon Complex.

Re:Idiots Blaming Objects Operated By People (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37032956)

Couldn't say it better myself.

Re:Idiots Blaming Objects Operated By People (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37033216)

"Sensationalist media blamed for making everything a scandal or a controversy!"

That usually comes up when some popular politician or other celebrity leader gets caught with his pants around his ankles, sometimes literally.
(Hypothetical) For instance:
- It is reported that a anti-gay religious leader got caught soliciting sex from a gay prostitute? It's the media's fault.
- It is reported that an some famous environmentalist burns $10,000 a month in fuel traveling to vacation homes? It's the media's fault.
- It is reported that a politician got caught taking bribes to vote a certain way? It's the media's fault.
- It is reported that that a pundit says is not backed up by science, nor other forms of fact? It's the media's fault.
- It is reported that a the owner of a famous charity uses the supply planes to smuggle blood diamonds back into the country? It's the media's fault.

Of course, it has nothing to do... (3, Interesting)

rsborg (111459) | more than 2 years ago | (#37032874)

With a weakened social safety net, rampant unemployment, eastern-european migrants taking over the few remaining jobs and the super-rich from abroad (mostly the middle east) causing housing prices to skyrocket...

It also has nothing to do with the looting of the public done by the banksters and their enablers, the politicians.

Finally, the Met police are trusted and can't be blamed for the vandals and looter's complete despise for the actions of the law enforcement... it's not the fault of the police that they are unaccountable.

Re:Of course, it has nothing to do... (1)

MacGyver2210 (1053110) | more than 2 years ago | (#37032914)

it's not the fault of the police that they are unaccountable.

That made me laugh. It's like "The police are not accountable for their unaccountability."

Re:Of course, it has nothing to do... (2)

shugah (881805) | more than 2 years ago | (#37033022)

Or maybe it's just a bunch of young people who need very little impetus to smash shit up?

Re:Of course, it has nothing to do... (3, Interesting)

Piata (927858) | more than 2 years ago | (#37033276)

You don't riot for 3 days unless there's fuel for that spark to burn. Saying it's those damn young'ns is disingenuous.

Not long ago they were rioting over changes to education. What's the difference between people that just want to "smash shit up" and people being tired of their government, the rich getting richer and the lack of accountability of civil servants (including police)?

Re:Of course, it has nothing to do... (1)

Dexter Herbivore (1322345) | more than 2 years ago | (#37033116)

eastern-european migrants taking over the few remaining jobs.

I have to argue with that point, with an official unemployment rate of 7.7% [google.com.au], it's not like the Thatcher era. Unemployment rates are relatively low, so you can't argue that unemployment is a factor here without ignoring the facts.

This arguement is silly. (1)

JustAnotherIdiot (1980292) | more than 2 years ago | (#37032876)

If someone is shot, do you blame the gun or the shooter?
Blame the idiots who used the tool, not the tool itself.

Re:This arguement is silly. (1)

Dotren (1449427) | more than 2 years ago | (#37032916)

If someone is shot, do you blame the gun or the shooter?

If you're a government? The gun.

Shooters can vote.

Re:This arguement is silly. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37032962)

Well in Florida they can't (if convicted) or can twice (if they aren't)

Re:This arguement is silly. (1)

Bob the Super Hamste (1152367) | more than 2 years ago | (#37033282)

Not quite, you missed the first few steps. First you need to vilify the weapon usually calling it something like an AK style assault weapon [wikipedia.org] not a real class of weapon but a really scary sounding description. Now you also need to make the individual out to be a really scary person who had severe mental illness (probably did in reality) to make it seem like only crazies own these. Step 3 is to convince people that these types of weapons have no hunting or sporting purpose (even though a SKS makes a good entry level deer rifle especially if you are hunting in heavy woods) usually by further obfuscating the issue by claiming that no one needs to hunt with a fully automatic rifle even though the weapon used by the shooter was only a semi auto rifle. Now at this point you can push through various laws that further expand government all in the name of keeping people safe.

Re:This arguement is silly. (1)

shugah (881805) | more than 2 years ago | (#37033046)

If it's a 15 year old doing the shooting I blame whom ever gave / sold / provided the weapon.

It is bullshit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37032882)

I was watching the news last night and every second question was "did you hear that they were using social media?" And almost everyone they asked, including the rioters, said categorically that they heard about it by word of mouth - not via social media, twitter, etc. But that hasn't stopped the media from harping on about the same thing over and over again.

It is just complete and total bullshit. That's all I have to say about it. The most you'd see technology used is likely one rioter text messaging another.

Twitter - also being used 'for good'. (5, Informative)

Grumbleduke (789126) | more than 2 years ago | (#37032890)

Today has been a rather different story - Twitter has been used to organise a community-driven clean-up process, with large numbers of people gathering in the damaged areas of London to help fix things and tidy up. #riotcleanup [twitter.com] is still trending worldwide, and has been for most of the day, #riotwombles [twitter.com] (a wonderful tag) has been used for organising people on the streets, and @riotcleanup [twitter.com] has picked up over 70,000 followers today. There's also a sort of website [riotcleanup.co.uk] running now.

Social media, the Internet and technology in general are just tools - it's how people use them that matters; and today we've definitely seen them being used for good.

Re:Twitter - also being used 'for good'. (1)

Nick Fel (1320709) | more than 2 years ago | (#37032966)

Fortunately, this is being reported in the media as well. It's slowly worked its way up the BBC News [bbc.co.uk] front page today. The person who started is is allegedly Sam Duckworth aka Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly.

Of course! Why didn't I think of that! (1)

MacGyver2210 (1053110) | more than 2 years ago | (#37032896)

It's totally not your ineptitude at being police, or the social wrongs that are driving people to riot, it's clearly their ability to communicate with each other which is to blame! Also, people don't kill people, bullets do, and car accidents are always 100% the vehicle's fault.

I blame (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37032898)

Language, lets face it if the rioters didn't use a commun language they wouldn't be able to coordinate their actions

And for coordinating the clean up! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37032904)

"Twitter and Facebook users are harnessing the power of social networking to co-ordinate operations." http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-14456857

Re:And for coordinating the clean up! (1)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 2 years ago | (#37033032)

causing riots. stopping riots. identifying rioters. cleaning up after riots. social media, is there anything they can't do?

Gun/Phone control? (1)

sgt scrub (869860) | more than 2 years ago | (#37032922)

How long before "democratic countries" start talking about phones like they talk about guns? Will we have to listen to chants like, "Phones don't kill people. People kill people." and "Phones don't piss people off enough to kill people. People piss off people enough to kill people."

Knife blamed for stabbing! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37032934)

A newly discovered device called knife with million of uses has been blamed for stabbing... Call for banning all knife now!

Here's a novel idea (5, Insightful)

MikeRT (947531) | more than 2 years ago | (#37032954)

Give law-abiding Britains their gun rights back and let them use them in public when attacked by people who clearly intend to render substantial harm to life, limb or property.

Liberals were predicting that the "make my day" self-defense statutes Florida and Georgia have would result in a bloodbath because recipients of violence could not only stand their ground (by abolishing the "duty to retreat") but also lowered the threshold for using a weapon in self-defense.

Instead, a lot of criminals suddenly realized it would be open season on them.

Of course, you're well within your right to lecture these "redneck states" on how uncivilized their behavior is--even as your city is struggling with outright barbarism in its midst.

Re:Here's a novel idea (1)

erroneus (253617) | more than 2 years ago | (#37033088)

Yes, the predicted "bloodbath" argument has NEVER EVER held true and yet people still decry that as a reason for banning firearms.

I think international travel should also be banned because the Earth is flat and we are likely to fall off of it. I realize that historical evidence to the contrary exists, but I'm going to keep believing what I believe because it's right... right?

The Princess Bride (1)

fnj (64210) | more than 2 years ago | (#37033220)

Decry. I do not think that word means what you think it means. Or would you care to rephrase that first sentence?

Re:Here's a novel idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37033112)

I have never even fired a weapon, so I am not one of those NRA nuts.

But it is interesting to note that Tombstone, during its bad ole gun slinging days had a lower per capita murder rate than most cities today that have strict gun laws. Like NYC, DC and LA.

Re:Here's a novel idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37033128)

Wouldn't the "law-abiding Britains" using guns against the rioters mean that they clearly intend to render substantial harm to the life of the rioters (or anyone marked as a rioter whether or not they actually riot)? Which in turn would mean that the rioters are in their full right to retaliate the same way.

Re:Here's a novel idea (1)

shugah (881805) | more than 2 years ago | (#37033150)

Because, of course, the solution to wide spread rioting, looting and violence is more powerful weapons.

Re:Here's a novel idea (1)

Dexter Herbivore (1322345) | more than 2 years ago | (#37033190)

Right... good point. Open slather on guns to a nation that has 0.15 deaths per 100,000 population under advice from the USA... with 3.98 homicides per 100,000. Great idea! (Data taken from Cukier and Sidel (2006) The Global Gun Epidemic. Praeger Security International. Westport.)

Technology "blamed"? (5, Informative)

blind biker (1066130) | more than 2 years ago | (#37032970)

I've followed the BBC feed on the riots, and I can't say I've heard anyone, including the police, "blame" the technology, as much as simply acknowledging that the rioters use it to organize. That's it. Nobody is screaming "remove technology from the premises".

Re:Technology "blamed"? (1)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | more than 2 years ago | (#37033028)

Check the comments from the various MPs. They'll discuss the impact of technology on the riots and what can be done about it in their next sessions.

Re:Technology "blamed"? (1)

Piata (927858) | more than 2 years ago | (#37033294)

If that's really the MPs approach, I'm not surprised people are rioting.

Videogames (1)

kikito (971480) | more than 2 years ago | (#37032982)

How did they miss the chance?

How about blaming... (1, Flamebait)

ilsaloving (1534307) | more than 2 years ago | (#37032988)

How about blaming themselves for their ham-fisted police action for sparking the riots in the first place?

No? Funny that...

My personal take. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37032998)

(of course, all this is my personal opinion, not of anyone else) ... is that some things are somewhat similar. E.g. UK and Lybia (fortunately, I'm donning my antiflame vest).

The common denominator seems to be, in these broadband times, youngums cannot wait a femtosecond for things to change. If you like change, then great... if not... oh, boy!

maybe... (1)

swan5566 (1771176) | more than 2 years ago | (#37033006)

They'll forgive technology once they remember how well it helps them track down those who rioted. And then help them prosecute. And then help them build profiling and monitoring software for riot prevention. And....

Technology isn't the source of the problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37033012)

"Disaffected urban youth" are. It's not as if faster and more effective communication has motivated these people to do what they are doing. It's greed that is motivating them, judging by the extent of looting. The availability of cheap and effective mobile communication to the public gives the police less advantage than they used to have from their own communication systems when responding to problems.

If anything, these riots call into question the effectiveness of technology given that there are video cameras deployed all over the place. Maybe they'll develop some common sense and realize that investing money in camera systems is no substitute for having actual police officers on the street that are engaged with the community. It also makes you wonder whether endlessly cutting back on government services so that people can pay less taxes is as much of a net benefit to society as people sometimes claim. Eventually you might not have the resources needed to respond to a crisis or to maintain services needed to support a more equable society. This is not meant to be an excuse for the assholes doing the looting, but gangs of "disaffected youth" don't suddenly develop overnight. It means there are long-standing problems that haven't been properly addressed.

Re:Technology isn't the source of the problem (1)

Churnits (1922258) | more than 2 years ago | (#37033234)

... endlessly cutting back on government services so that people can pay less taxes ...

Er, you're talking about the UK here right? This isn't the US, we don't do tax cuts anymore - we pay MORE tax (VAT up to 20% for a top-of-the-head example) AND get cuts in services. Everyone's a winner!

Re:Technology isn't the source of the problem (1)

shugah (881805) | more than 2 years ago | (#37033290)

We won't really know until the aftermath, but if the riots in London are at all similar to the Vancouver Stanley Cup riots, most of the 'disaffected youth" were middle class, teens and young men from the suburbs, spurred on by a handful of professional anarchists. The same black masked anarchists tried to get something going during the opening ceremonies for the Olympics, but fortunately, due to the enormous good will in the city at the time, the crowd turned on the small handful of rioters and shut them down really quickly. After losing the Stanley Cup final - the good will was absent and it took very little to get the crowd going. One thing that was common to both incidents in Vancouver was that early in the day, long before the events, the police began detaining people who were bringing cans of gasoline and weapons into the downtown core.

It's time to ban education! (1)

erroneus (253617) | more than 2 years ago | (#37033030)

These smart people are simply getting out of hand. We need dumb people because they are easier to manage.

Whats the big deal? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37033036)

I grew up in London, it's always been overrun by thieves and other criminals, my uncle was murdered by teens a few years back, whats all the fuss about??

It's the lack of Smith & Wesson (3, Interesting)

kurt555gs (309278) | more than 2 years ago | (#37033096)

We are having these problems in Illinois and Wisconsin as well. Illinois has no concealed carry law, and Wisconsin's doesnt take effect until Nov 1.

We are not seeing destructive flash mobs in Houston. It's won't happen there because both the organizers and participants know that lots of Texans walk around armed all the time. So, the concealed carry law it's self PREVENTS violence because these hooligans don't want to try something that will lead to them being shot dead.

So, the UK can watch and spy, and listen all they want and it will have no effect on what is happening.

Re:It's the lack of Smith & Wesson (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37033302)

Yes, we in the UK should definitely consider selling our principles out.

After all, a mere 10,000 people annually are killed by guns in the US, and when you compare that to the 40 or so people who have been injured in these riots the case is clear - we should have more guns in the UK.

When the unrest does hit your state, and regular citizens are shot with their own guns, which is what always happens when inexperienced gun owners try to take the law into their own hands, I hope Slashdot is up long enough for me to laugh at you.

The printing press (1)

Yaur (1069446) | more than 2 years ago | (#37033126)

Really this is nothing more then the 21st century equivalent of the printing press. People are going to use it to communicate both good and bad things more efficiently then they were before.. this is both obvious and meaningless. I'm sure that both the automobile and public transport both factored into the riots and the only reason there aren't stories about that is that old people understand those technologies.

Technology Blamed For Helping (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37033156)

"Technology Blamed For Helping ..." Yep, that's what technology does - it helps.

The real problem (1)

Synerg1y (2169962) | more than 2 years ago | (#37033160)

They said it... disaffected youth, why is the public so angry at the police that it spills over into riots?

Not being from the UK, but I believe the police over there have more liberties with people, which opens up their ability to harass people, while police in the US can be dicks, we're talking about ALL of the police in the UK.

Surveillance cameras (4, Insightful)

Krneki (1192201) | more than 2 years ago | (#37033164)

With all the surveillance cameras in London one would thought that is has to be the most secure city in the world.

Oh the irony.

Re:Surveillance cameras (1)

Dexter Herbivore (1322345) | more than 2 years ago | (#37033314)

The problem with that concept is that they're not all government owned and controlled, and they're not all hooked up to a central network... if they're hooked up to a networked or watched at all. It's supposed to be a deterrent but fails in that respect.

WTF (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37033208)

"The Metropolitan Police, known as Scotland Yard"

That's like a story about the US saying

"The CIA, known as The CIA Headquarters"

Let's blame clothing manufacturers as well (1)

boylinux (775361) | more than 2 years ago | (#37033296)

Hoodies and scarves allow these people to do things in plain view without being identified.

And they didn't blame public transportation too? (1)

DWIM (547700) | more than 2 years ago | (#37033306)

If they want to point fingers at technology enabling these riots, then they should indict public transportation as well. Given many statements to the press that the people participating in these riots seem to have come from all over London, I seriously doubt they all walked or drove to Tottenham or whatever riot spot was on schedule. Odds are great many rode public transportation to get there.

The Police have it easier than ever... (1)

Uhhhh oh ya! (1000660) | more than 2 years ago | (#37033310)

They make it seem so sophisticated, "It's an 'encrypted, very secure..." I bet I could have made an account and figured out where they were going. People are now willing to post where they are going to strike next, open for anyone to see, and the police want to shut it down? Lets just face it, when even the rioters tipping off police ahead of time isnt helpful enough to do anything about the riot then you need to re-evaluate your law enforcement.

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