back to article Keep calm and carry on networking, says UK.gov

Facebook, Twitter and Blackberry representatives met with Home Secretary Theresa May at lunchtime to have what ended up being a somewhat lighter discussion than expected about social networks used in relation to criminal activity. Prime Minister David Cameron told MPs, who were forced to cut short their holidays and return to …

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People also use Twitter as a the first place to get information, monitor quickly changing events in real-time, and connect with friends, family and their communities.

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Can we get a list of these people, Britain is a bit crowded, we could do with a moron cull.

I mean - imagine the scene. You come up out of the tube station, and the high street is on fire. What to do? I know, check what @PiersMorgan thinks.

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Anonymous Coward

Moronic?

If you wanted to know whether a particular street was soaked in riot, twitter would be a better place to start than El Reg. No?

If you wanted to tell your friends that your neighbours were a burnin' and a lootin', twitter would be a better place to start than El Reg.

People like talking. That's why we're here being commentards.

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Tool

What's wrong with using a mass communication tool? Just because lots of people use it for trivial crap doesn't mean that's the ONLY use.

For example, during the recent Amazon EC2 outages, twitter was instantly filled with posts about users having similar problems, where as their own status page still listed everything as A-OK.

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Anonymous Coward

Warm fuzzy feelings all around, I'm sure.

I still find it instructive how this take on a supposedly free country has *cough* certain politicians *cough* prefer to call for restrictions first and meet up for some light chatter later.

Tangentially I increasingly find, on the open internet, links to pages that then require a facebook login. Apparently some people like to forget just how walled that facebook garden is. While such a thing is indubitably useful to some, posting links (to your own facebook page) on (your own) public website apparently for public consumption is a bit... annoying. Surely a simple oversight, of course, but still.

How the two are related? The lack of thinking, I suppose. Bit of a pity if that's supposed to be the species' strong point.

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"Bit of a pity if that's supposed to be the species' strong point."

True observation. But haven't you noticed that the collective intelligence of a group tends to plummet dramatically once you get beyond, say, three indivduals? Unless the group has clear direction and a common goal, the patterns of thought tend to follow the paths of least resistance - ie the common and mostly primitive traits that we all have. So the recent mobs in London etc. seemed quite intelligent in the way they organised to trash the joint, whereas the official response was very unintelligent.

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Anonymous Coward

Socialising substituting for thinking

Groupthink is pretty stupid when left to its own devices, but is fairly simple (but not necessarily easy) to fix: Provide leadership. I don't think that the trashing was all that organised. Trained and well-led trashing operatives could've done far more damage. The most iconically burnt-out building was a carpet shop. Once that gets going, it doesn't stop, regardless of how it started.

I think the damage done says more about just how fragile our shopfronts really are. They're not mob-proof. This stands to reason because shops need to make money and so they need to attract customers, and can't afford to look like a prison or a bunker.

The official response was both blindsided (everyone was) and frankly overwhelmed. That too is a sign that things are usually pretty cosy; there normally isn't that much need for plod. The aftermath, though, is equally inevitable and shows us the weaknesses in the political system: Knee-jerking all-around. The fall-out of that is probably worse and definitely longer lasting.

So after the riots subside you need to take out a big large cluebat and make sure the political mob doesn't go too berserk in outraged posing and indignified grandstanding. Almost everything proposed will be shallowly aimed at symptoms, as nobody is willing to dig into the icky murky depths of the problems of society and do something constructive about them. It's the aftermath that's really telling on our leaders, and I have seen little to distinguish them.

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Doh!

A system where rioters choose to send their location and confession directly to the police automatically and the government were thinking of banning it?

It could lead to a whole new cockney rhyming slang though.,

Originally that was supposed to defeat police spies from hearing what you were planning - now if you text "I'm going to rob currys" you get 6months, so now you will have to text if you text "I'm planning a shrubery at a branch of Ruby"

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Decades ago

Sometime around 1994 the gov of the day decided to assign a plod to investigate the possible threat of the internet, which at the time mostly meant Usenet (a precursor to message boards) - his advice was to start an armed robbery discussion group for this exact purpose.

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Joined up government?

I suspect that PC Plod has pointed out to the government that social networking helps to alert them where likely trouble is going to happen and help catch the scrotes afterwards.

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Facepalm

30 million Brits use Facebook?

That's it. I'm not coming back.

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Anonymous Coward

It's almost as if humans are a social animal ...

Yeah. 30 million Brits socialise on the internet. It is really is appalling. I much prefer this commentardery game, where it's almost impossible to form meaningful relationships with people.

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Big Brother

Restricting the Internat

This idea or suggestion does not need to be 'shelved', it needs to be scrapped permanently

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Big Brother

Gavvers and Hobby-Bobbies as «friends» ?

Social media for chavs and neds ? As an alternative till ASBOs ? Now I understand all the hype about innovation in the field....

Henri

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Relieving

I was pretty disheartened when I first heard the government coming out with that crap as it sounded just like what the last lot would have said.

It's still worrying that it was their initial reaction but it's a relief that common sense seems to have prevailed.

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Stop

Hmmm

I don't think common sense prevailed - more like the sheer logistical and legal nightmare prevents them.

Thank (insert your own favourite Deity here)

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true

Yeah but if it'd been the last I'd expect they'd have gone ahead anyway regardless of the fact it'd be a logistical nightmare.

Then blamed the technology and hackers when it didn't work.

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Wouldn't it be better

to restrict criminal government?

Cameron and his wobbly-chinned banker chums have done far more damage to the UK than the rioters could ever dream of doing.

If we had proper government - by the people, for the people, with a good spread of media instead of a few headbanger outlets poisoning the debate - Cameron would be stuck on his country estate shooting small furry animals.

Which is all him and his ilk are any good at anyway.

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