back to article Blocking Twitter, Facebook during riots not such a hot idea - MPs

Shutting down social media during times of civil unrest would be "actively unhelpful" and should not happen, a committee of MPs has said. The Home Affairs Committee said that evidence from the riots in English cities in August showed that law enforcement had used social media to tackle the problem and that rioters had used …

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Anonymous Coward

I invite David Cameron to...

... Walk like an Egyptian.

Go, and make us all happy.

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Unwritten subtext

No, of course we wont tunr it off, feel free to post as much incriminating evidence as you like. We'll be coming round your house a few months later to pick you up.

Much easier that way. Allows us to balance our workload. Carry on tweeting.

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More to the point...

...is that they appear to have had an attack of Common Sense (tm) over there in the House of Hot Air Projects. Makes a pleasant change. Won't last of course, so savour it while it's there.

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Passed after 9/11?

I expect the police to point out that they'd have a lot less work if mobile social media was turned off on Friday and Saturday nights, and people had to stay home to tweet or facebook etc. instead of doing it simultaneously with going out and getting drunk and getting rowdy.

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Silver badge
FAIL

My view now

"Even David Lammy, who called for the suspension of BlackBerry Messenger while the disorder was taking place, said: 'I called for suspension in the heat of the problems. Clearly, the police were able to get order without suspension, so that is not my view now'"

What he meant to say was "I had no idea what this social whatsitsname thing was before the riots and was told by my underlings that the rioters were using it to riot with, so inadvisably started blabbing to the media about shutting it down without doing my research as to whether this would be a good idea or in fact even possible in a liberal democracy. This makes me an idiot, I know, and I'll endeavour to be less of an idiot in future as I am in fact in charge of Important Things and really should be more careful."

If only...

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Hang on... I thought this was england not a middle east dictatorship

Enough said really.

Only 6 months ago Cameron and his bunch of muppets were dead against other countries blocking access to free speech, if they actually do go through with this it would be like sticking to fingers up to all those countries they tore into over censoring the people.

Do as we say not as we do springs to mind.

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It's for your own protection, citizen. Totally different.

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Hmm, yep that's exactly what the Egypt government said.

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Joke

they *should* turn it off

Social networks are blocked here at my workplace,

and theres not been a riot for years.

Q.E.D

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Anonymous Coward

"rioters had used traditional media..."

Ban the printing press!

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Happy

Personally I'd love to see them arranging a riot on an Aldis Lamp.

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Flame

heh...

This assumes that (1) They can spell it correctly, and (2) that they can learn Morse Code to at least 12 words per minute ;-)

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Anonymous Coward

too fast!

12 wpm was the ham test speed, merchant marine aldis light pass speed is 3 wpm, visual morse is harder to 'read' than audio apparently...

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Silver badge

For an eye and a brain, perhaps.

But perhaps someone can cook up an app that uses the camera, detects visual blips and interprets the pulses as Morse Code and prints the messages accordingly. With the right conditions, it should be able to pull off 3 wpm if not a little faster, depending on the capture speed of the camera.

The radio idea sounds interesting, too. Some phones can pick up radio frequencies, after all.

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Coat

I sit corrected :-)

and yeah, given that one has to blink every so often, I'd imagine 3wmp "flash flash flashetty flash flash blink oh s*** what was that he just sent" would be a tad embarrassing to explain when the ship just hit a sandbank...!

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Silver badge

Ooop north

We use pigeons

(just like google)

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Silver badge

Ay, an' i' give' you a tasty treat we' yer message a'well

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Facepalm

IP over avian carrier

http://www.ietf.org/rfc/rfc1149.txt

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Holmes

No shit, Sherlock icon...

... no post needed!

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THEY HAVE A TRACK RECORD.....

Of not knowing anything about IT being advised by people who have self interest in ripping the tax payer off for their own gain.

Being so stupid also makes them dangerous.

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Anonymous Coward

Not dangerous

just bloody expensive.

*shuffles off to pay tax bill while muttering*

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Boffin

Can be summarised as...

It was unceremoniously pointed out to us that blocking certain websites was nigh on impossible and so easy to circumvent as to be wholly innefective. So now we're going to make out that we genuinely thought about this and came to our own intelligent decision not to do anything.

A lot of the backlash against SOPA in the States focusses on the fact that the legislators are openly ignorant of the technical issues, chuckle over their ignorance and were literally labeling technical witnesses 'nerds'. I think this is a major problem facing the peoples of the world that the one's given power to make decisions over such technical rights issues don't have any understanding of what they are legislating over and it's not even funny anymore, it's bloody frightening.

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Silver badge

And the worst part?

The two fields appear to be (culturally, at least) mutually exclusive. People in the IT field rarely go into law and government, and vice versa. So what happens you have an issue that's both technical and legal at the same time. The IT people lack the legal angle, the lawmakers lack the technical angle, and they're so far apart culturally that they probably don't even understand each other.

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Big Brother

I doubt it would solve anything

In the 1980s, teenagers used to arrange their illegal acid house raves using public payhones in service stations as well as pirate radio stations and word of mouth. The police monitored these obviously and responded after the fact, but it didn't prevent the coordination and occurrence of the event to begin with. Eventually the authorities gave up and licensing laws were changed.

My point is that shutting down social media doesn't prevent coordination and organisation if people are resourceful enough. All this will do is punish innocents and irritate more and more people to some extent.

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FAIL

They needed a committee to figure this out, why am I not surprised anymore

[/payTaxes]

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Bronze badge

It MAY be "practicable", but is it sensible and PRACTICAL?

A lot of people in the vicinity of a massive riot may prefer to get updates via those they trust who are reporting what they see, not a muppet/puppet limited number of "trustworthy" journos and "news" sites.

If many of a reader's friends are caught up in and trying to escape from a massive conflag, social site friends could communicate how *THEY* escaped, whereas a news station could or might incorrectly withold the valuable escape or egress information.

Just look at the recent VA Tech shooting of a police officer who was a responder to the 2005 VA Tech mass murders. Texting and other media IN ADDITION TO news outlets spread the word, and one student found the library locked down before she got to it, forcing her to find alternate refuge. If the frackin' news media are not on scene, and scene commander cops are "carefully assessing" the situation, those people WILL not have the same inside information that the trapped can convey.

http://www.usatoday.com/NEWS/usaedition/2011-12-09-va-tech-insideART_ST_U.htm

http://content.usatoday.com/communities/ondeadline/post/2011/12/virginia-tech-reports-shots-fired-on-campus/1

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/nationnow/2011/12/virginia-tech-shooting-dead-police-officer.html

http://articles.cnn.com/2011-12-09/justice/justice_virginia-tech-incident_1_deriek-crouse-cassell-coliseum-seung-hui-cho?_s=PM:JUSTICE

Unfortunately, just as with airlines that might try to take possession of a crashed plane's victims' cameras as "evidence" (and possibly try to legally stymie publishcation --- say a perished passenger sent 5 or six life-stream clips to his/her public social media site in the event of a doomed plane flying low enough to receive good cell coverage, or assume a camcorder or mobile was used to film the event, but the plane ripped open and the recording device ejected a mile away, but the SD card/film cartridge still worked...), police might claim that "premature disclosure of ongoing events complicates the investigation and may aid parties responsible for initiating the event..."

If I emerge from a train and find a stampede trying to escape a spurious gun-spray site, and get holed up for a few minutes, with bodies around, blood seemingly everywhere, and no instructions piping in by announcing systems, I DAMNED SURE want to be able to send my last words or find escape routes via my mobile without some politician or bureau-functionary deciding otherwise.

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