×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

UK To Shut Down Social Networks?

CmdrTaco posted more than 2 years ago | from the because-they-can dept.

Social Networks 403

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.

cancel ×
This is a preview of your comment

No Comment Title Entered

Anonymous Coward 1 minute ago

No Comment Entered

403 comments

China? (5, Interesting)

creat3d (1489345) | more than 2 years ago | (#37055426)

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.

Re:China? (2)

Infiniti2000 (1720222) | more than 2 years ago | (#37055494)

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? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37055662)

Whats the difference between just doing it and informing the public before just doing it? It's not like he's asking the public if they think it's and OK measure.

Re:China? (2)

Infiniti2000 (1720222) | more than 2 years ago | (#37055704)

Well, yeah, I do think it's kind of like asking the public. It invites reaction and criticism from the public and media. From what I understand, the policy isn't in effect yet, is it? Thus, the UK PM may or may not go through with it. Even just informing people about it before acting on it is significantly different than what China would likely do.

Re:China? (2)

AngryDeuce (2205124) | more than 2 years ago | (#37055774)

Reaction like, I don't know, riots and looting?

The only people they're going to "ask" about this are the other old people in Parliament that think that the looting is being organized via fucking Facebook and Twitter. In other words, the people that don't have a clue, as usual...

Man, I would never have expected something like this to come out of the UK. This move has U.S.A. "but think of the children!!!!!" written all over it.

Re:China? (2)

MysteriousPreacher (702266) | more than 2 years ago | (#37055824)

It seems opportunistic to even consider such a measure at a time like this. It'd be like asking, in the days following 9/11, if the public would like to see Muslims excluded from air travel.

Cameron knows that emotions are running high and that people will, as we've always done, happily sign away freedoms without considering the long term implications. We've not exactly had good experiences, here or across the pond, with governmental powers being extended before the dust settles on the latest outrage against civilization.

An idea like this easily crosses the mind, but it's quite another thing to actually go public with such a notion when you're the prime fucking minister. It tells me that Cameron is either an opportunist looking to extend governmental powers for its own benefit or he doesn't have the good sense to properly consider an idea before opening his mouth.

Re:China? (5, Insightful)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 2 years ago | (#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.

Re:China? (1)

Baloroth (2370816) | more than 2 years ago | (#37055776)

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.

Re:China? (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#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?

Re:China? (4, Informative)

Tapewolf (1639955) | more than 2 years ago | (#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.

Re:China? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37055900)

And further, they don't understand that as people become more and more dependant on these networks for every part of their lives**, that the potential for inducing general panic and chaos massively increases by shutting them down. ("What are they hiding from us? It must be much worse than we thought!" is the likely reaction).

Typical knee-jerk stupidity, combined with the natural control-freak instincts of authoritarians.

** Which I'm not saying is a good thing, in fact the reverse, but that's another issue.

Re:China? (4, Insightful)

Xest (935314) | more than 2 years ago | (#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? (2)

Shrike82 (1471633) | more than 2 years ago | (#37055564)

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? (4, Insightful)

EasyTarget (43516) | more than 2 years ago | (#37055794)

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.

Re:China? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37055936)

What bothers me about this is that the looters/ rioters are hurting fellow citizens instead of targeting government officials/ buildings the way Egyptians and Syrians have been doing.

Oh! (1)

Greyfox (87712) | more than 2 years ago | (#37055440)

Bad news for the "Lootbook" IPO!

Re:Oh! (2)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 2 years ago | (#37055594)

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.

Re:Oh! (1)

Pieroxy (222434) | more than 2 years ago | (#37055880)

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.

Worked well before... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37055472)

In Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Syria...

Stupid (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37055486)

Shutting down communications strikes me as one of the most stupid things you could do in an emergency situation. If someone wants to call for help or check on friends and relatives or even just try to find out what's happening then the last thing they need is the obstacle of having to figure out which communications channels aren't banned.

just leave em on (1)

AtomicDevice (926814) | more than 2 years ago | (#37055488)

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)

Re:just leave em on (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37055606)

I recall back in the fall of of 2005 when Penn State beat Ohio State and a lot of the crowd rushed the field (which the announcer warned before it happened that it would be met with arrests) then people were stupid enough to join "I rushed the field" group on Facebook. The cops just matched up profile photos of people in the group to photos they had from the event.... and then arrested the idiots. Then the idiots complained about how bragging publicly on Facebook about their illegal action wasn't "private".

Re:just leave em on (1)

JBMcB (73720) | more than 2 years ago | (#37055792)

People don't seem to realize that, if more than two people are involved, it really isn't a private conversation.

If dozens of people are involved on a third party's message board, then you might as well be shouting it in a shopping mall.

Re:just leave em on (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37055892)

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)

Nice mishmash there: g'day is Australian IIRC, 'Ello Mate' is distinctly working class (and it sounds Australian too) whereas Tally-HO is something only a dyed-in-the-wool toff would say in public.

Argh (3, Interesting)

SpooForBrains (771537) | more than 2 years ago | (#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.

Great idea, except when it's not. (1)

sziring (2245650) | more than 2 years ago | (#37055498)

Pretty stupid to cut off communications as they can also be used for good. What about social media used to say stay away from this place. Or as an early warning system.

Take a good look... (2)

AngryDeuce (2205124) | more than 2 years ago | (#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...

Re:Take a good look... (1)

mkkohls (2386704) | more than 2 years ago | (#37055574)

It's gonna be happening here, too. We'd better start coming up with alternative ways to communicate, ..

I suggest cup and string, signal flags, signal fires, and messenger pigeons.

Re:Take a good look... (1)

Phreakiture (547094) | more than 2 years ago | (#37055784)

Analogue radio can be quite effective . . . just use it with appropriate caution because it does give away your position when you transmit (though not when you listen) and can be listened in on by others.

CB, FRS, GMRS and Marine radios are easy to get your hands on. With a little more work, ham and MURS radios can be acquired.

Be aware that GMRS, Marine and ham radios require licenses and are subject to some specific rules, if you care. Also be aware that there are those who will defend these three radio services and will help authorities track you down if you abuse them (I will if I hear you on ham and you don't belong there). The other three are pretty much wide open.

Re:Take a good look... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37055870)

But how will we tell the signal fires from the riot fires?

Oh wait, now I get it, Everyone just meets at the fire to start the riot.

Re:Take a good look... (1)

Necroman (61604) | more than 2 years ago | (#37055852)

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 a few thousand rioters right now? And England is population 50 million. I could see doing a shutdown like this going over well with the population.

Re:Take a good look... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37056022)

Alternative ways to communicate? You mean like, the phone or perhaps in person? Nonsense!

Just England (1)

aedan (196243) | more than 2 years ago | (#37055518)

The riots are only in England, Cameron can leave the rest of us alone.

Re:Just England (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37055580)

The riots are only in England, Cameron can leave the rest of us alone.

Didn't you get the memo? We're all in this together...

Re:Just England (1)

aedan (196243) | more than 2 years ago | (#37055620)

Well hopeful not after the referendum.

Re:Just England (1)

Amorya (741253) | more than 2 years ago | (#37055690)

Don't just leave us to our fate!

Re:Just England (1)

aedan (196243) | more than 2 years ago | (#37055772)

We have lots of space, you're welcome to move here.

Just watch out for the midgies.

Re:Just England (1)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 2 years ago | (#37055958)

We have lots of space, you're welcome to move here.

Just watch out for the midgies.

I might just do that. In fact I suspect that if you had a referendum in England asking whether you wanted to be part of Scotland or ruled by the toffy-nosed Southern conservatives the border would move a couple of hundred miles south.

Free Speech (1, Troll)

Quato (132194) | more than 2 years ago | (#37055528)

You can see why the Founding Fathers included it in the Bill of Rights.
Good ol' USA where we can tell everyone of our elected officals a what cheap, lying, no-good, rotten, four-flushing, low-life, snake-licking, dirt-eating, inbred, overstuffed, ignorant, blood-sucking, dog-kissing, brainless, dickless, hopeless, heartless, fat-ass, bug-eyed, stiff-legged, spotty-lipped, worm-headed sack of monkey shit they are! Hallelujah! Holy shit! Where's the Tylenol?

Re:Free Speech (1)

AngryDeuce (2205124) | more than 2 years ago | (#37055692)

You can see why the Founding Fathers included it in the Bill of Rights.

Have you not seen the big steaming dump those elected officials have taken on our founding documents as of late?

I wouldn't depend on "rights" protecting any of us at this point. If you've gotten the hand up your ass routine at an airport lately you would know that.

Guess they want to play Whack-a-Mole... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37055532)

Which social services would they shut down? If they shut down access to Facebook, people would use another service. If the UK desires to shut down all communication channels, then go hunting for pirate radio or wi-fi stations, good luck. It can be done, but it would be a large expense... and really tick off everyone, including businesses who lose sales due to communication blackouts.

Re:Guess they want to play Whack-a-Mole... (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 2 years ago | (#37055814)

Pirate radio and wifi? The dumb thugs will be running around like chickens with their heads cut off once Facebook, BBM and SMS and cell calls are out. Not that I agree with this because I think the negatives of doing this outweigh the positives, but the type of people doing this will be shut down by blocking access to the popular idiot-friendly services.

that's not enough! (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#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!

Yes, since... (2)

JustAnotherIdiot (1980292) | more than 2 years ago | (#37055554)

...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? (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#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.

Re:Wait, what? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37055780)

Agreed.

How the hell does "...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.." become "...UK PM David Cameron wants to shut down social networks..."?

How about everyone take off the tin hats for a few minutes and be as reasonable as the PM appears to have been in his statement? There have been a large number of people calling for BBM to be shut down during the riots so he is obliged to look into it isn't it? Isn't that how it works? The pitch-fork-wielding, tin-hat-wearing, masses pose their irrational questions which then hopefully receive slightly more rational consideration by the government.

Networks interpret censorship as damage... (2)

cedgray (1883160) | more than 2 years ago | (#37055584)

...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.

Re:Networks interpret censorship as damage... (2)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 2 years ago | (#37055862)

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).

Re:Networks interpret censorship as damage... (1)

ffreeloader (1105115) | more than 2 years ago | (#37055998)

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 everyone is entitled to do nothing for themselves and still have everything they want.

There is no surer way to kill a civilization.

How about.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37055586)

... just putting enough police/army on the streets and nicking the little bastards in the act?

Put the blame where it belongs, on the police. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37055592)

Fascist regimes always point their fingers elsewhere. Fortunately, that leaves 3 fingers pointing back at themselves.

Re:Put the blame where it belongs, on the police. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37055668)

There are so many things wrong with that statement in relation to what just happened.

Censorship is useless (1)

Gonzodoggy (118747) | more than 2 years ago | (#37055600)

It's better to just use short range jamming on those freq's than to censor an entire network. Besides, it's not like the Brit's have a 4th amendment. It's just as easy to monitor certain accounts in real time, or nearly so.

A better question to ask might be, why their current, much vaunted CCTV surveillance isn't doing a better job of nabbing those hooilgans earlier in the process?

hyperbole (4, Insightful)

spikenerd (642677) | more than 2 years ago | (#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

Re:hyperbole (3, Insightful)

Spad (470073) | more than 2 years ago | (#37055864)

Indeed, blocking known troublemakers from posting Twitter updates about their latest theft isn't exactly the civil rights disaster that TFA appears to be trying to paint.

Let's shut down the phones too! (2)

fredrated (639554) | more than 2 years ago | (#37055608)

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.

Article is wrong - here's what was really said (4, Informative)

DJRikki (646184) | more than 2 years ago | (#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****."

Re:Article is wrong - here's what was really said (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37055954)

Maybe you haven't followed politicis lately but more and more of what was completely normal democratic protest has been outlawed in recent years. Whether something is "criminal" or not is merely a matter of definition created by those in power.

applauding hipocrisy (2)

IZN0GUD (804758) | more than 2 years ago | (#37055676)

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 neighborhood.

surely, forensics behind this are wee bit more complicated, but all in all - if i was member of the crowd doing malicious deed - i would never use my own phone and gsm card to organize / coordinate something against the state. perhaps pre-paid card with disposable/old phone, but never my own smartphone with my own postpaid number.

Ridiculous power grabs to what end?? (3, Insightful)

syousef (465911) | more than 2 years ago | (#37055678)

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?

Re:Ridiculous power grabs to what end?? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37055970)

What the fuck has happened to all the western governments?

That is easy to answer, they sold the soul to the free market, so, while once mostly everybody was employed and able to buy some stuff, now there are more and more unemployed people in a material society (and most of them are in that situation because firing local and outsource is a way to increase value to stockholders).

So to keep the thing calm and safe for them and the free market forces that fund them the sheep (voters) must be guarded with a stronger hand. It's just a case of letting the rich kids keep they're toys.

Law (-1, Troll)

headhot (137860) | more than 2 years ago | (#37055680)

Since the Magna Carta, England has not been able to get off their ass to pass a constitution, so law wise pretty much anything goes over there.

Re:Law (1)

isorox (205688) | more than 2 years ago | (#37055770)

Since the Magna Carta, England has not been able to get off their ass to pass a constitution, so law wise pretty much anything goes over there.

Yeah, that constitution works really well for the U.S.

A constitution is a piece of paper you wipe your ass with, unless you have a populous that cares enough to defend it.

Re:Law (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37055782)

Yes, because countries with constitutions never have such a problem, do they?

Re:Law (1)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 2 years ago | (#37056000)

Yes, because countries with constitutions never have such a problem, do they?

Actually in terms of suddenly preventing free speech, etc. they don't.

Should be fun to see if anyone gets sued (1)

Shivetya (243324) | more than 2 years ago | (#37055710)

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 from responsibility and freedoms are great until you trample someone else in the process.

Zero sympathy for rioters & looters (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37055732)

News articles on Yahoo the last two days claim that some rioters were being beaten by cops, but today claims that rioters attempted to fire bomb a children's hospital which was coordinated via social networking site is enough justification enough to string the lot up by the neck!

This is the sort of rot "the man" is trying to stop, not organised and civilised protest, but frack knuckles willing to do harm to innocent bystanders.

I call BS on slashdot (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37055744)

I'm sorry, but you cannot deny that these groups and youths are using social media to organize themselves and plan these acts.

If killing twitter across the country saves even one life, then eff you and your stupid social media .. Nobody is 'blaming' social media, however the evidence that it's being used to facilitate organization of violent protests is plain as day.

I'm sorry, but when human life is at risk, you can take a few days of free speech and cram it up your arses.

Shut off the internet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37055746)

That will surely pacify all those disaffected youth. They hate the internet, and hardly use it on a day to day basis.

Jumping down a Rabitt hole (1, Insightful)

gubers33 (1302099) | more than 2 years ago | (#37055752)

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.

Re:Jumping down a Rabitt hole (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37055938)

> The police caused this by killing an unarmed man and planting a gun.

This renders any positive parts of your comment void.

No longer morally 'right' (1)

SoTerrified (660807) | more than 2 years ago | (#37055766)

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 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. Ahmadinejad must be laughing like a madman.

Re:No longer morally 'right' (2)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | more than 2 years ago | (#37055948)

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.

Cause of civil unrest? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37055806)

I wonder why most governments on the planet are quite young. Is it because the previous government just put in 2 weeks notice and quit? or because the former, often corrupt, government was forcefully booted out. If course governments don't want citizens to communicate with each other when they are unhappy.

Next Up: the Social Network Riots of 2011 (2)

Jeff Archambeault (41488) | more than 2 years ago | (#37055828)

It worked in Egypt, right?

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

Another solution (1)

drobety (2429764) | more than 2 years ago | (#37055838)

Cameron should shut up, with plans like that, he will just instigate more and larger riots.

Shut down social media? Shoot down looters! (1)

sprins (717461) | more than 2 years ago | (#37055848)

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.

Gosh if I knew it were that easy... (1)

Oswald McWeany (2428506) | more than 2 years ago | (#37055860)

I'm not really the rioting kind- but if I knew that's all it took to get rid of facebook et al. I would have taken up rioting years ago.

Throwing Away Intel (2)

KermodeBear (738243) | more than 2 years ago | (#37055866)

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.

This is not London (or Sparta), this is MADNESS! (1)

LighterShadeOfBlack (1011407) | more than 2 years ago | (#37055902)

Not only will this emphatically fail to stop people who want to from spreading information, it will only drive it into more private channels of communication thereby actually denying the authorities a good source of evidence for prosecution.

So with this great plan we get:
a) Censorship
b) Still organised rioters
c) Frustrated legitimate users of social media sites
d) Destruction of an excellent source of intel and evidence gathering for the police during and after the fact

And if you feel like protesting about it you better not shout too loud. The police have now got water cannons and plastic bullets and I bet they're just itching to use them on somebody.

It goes both way (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37055908)

There are people who didn't go out and riot because they were able to vent online.

Three technically incompentent idiots. (2)

Dark$ide (732508) | more than 2 years ago | (#37055914)

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.

Missing the point (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37055918)

Riots organised by social networks are riots with an audit trail. They work both ways.

Cameron is off his head... (2)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#37055928)

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?

BBM and Mobiles not Facebook (1)

realxmp (518717) | more than 2 years ago | (#37055940)

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.

I doubt this will work... (1)

nerdyalien (1182659) | more than 2 years ago | (#37055976)

People have got together and demonstrated, picketed and rioted long before the advent of social media [wikipedia.org]. It is just that, communication is much more efficient and easier today. And surely, people will find ways to circumvent even if social media gets banned tomorrow.

I think UK PM is focusing on the wrong stuff -- social media -- to begin with. I mean, he should deeply analyze what are the root causes behind these massive riots. The reason (according to my understanding) is the youth who are denied a better future because of the greed of preceding generation(s).

Let's face the truth... we are living in a world of politicians, bankers, financiers, top shots who steal wealth from common people and run away without a scratch; while a poor teenager getting batton-down for stealing a pair of jeans. How fair is that ? isn't bankrupting entire nations and sending financial shock waves across the globe a criminal act?

Response to TFS (1)

sithkhan (536425) | more than 2 years ago | (#37055982)

"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 a demonstration that they could do what they wanted. As you seem to imply that this plan is a poor one, can you suggest a better plan? Here's mine - arm all shop owners with shot guns.

Considering it, only to dismiss it? (1)

daveewart (66895) | more than 2 years ago | (#37056008)

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 easily have happened without social media. And that was a good thing. Also those caught up in areas affected by the riots were able to find out what was going on by using social media. And that's a good thing too.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Sign up for Slashdot Newsletters
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...