Cameron may block social media use during riots
|11 Aug 2011 4:33 BST||Back|
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Prime Minister David Cameron considers blocking social media sites and messaging services such as BlackBerry Messenger in the event of future riots or violent unrest.
Twitter, Facebook and BlackBerry Messenger are all thought to have played a part in this week’s riots, and the prime minister admitted that they could be a force for ill as well as good.
Cameron told the House of Commons: “When people are using social media for violence we need to stop them. 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.”
UK Home Secretary Theresa May will meet with Facebook, Twitter and makers of BlackBerry to discuss their responsibilities.
As well as measures to block social media during violent unrest, the UK Government may assume powers to intercept social media messages.
So far, three people have been arrested in Southampton on suspicion of using social media to incite rioting.
Overall, there have been more than 1,300 arrests in the UK since the unrest began on 6 August and there have been all-night court sittings to fast-track the looters and rioters.