In addition to investigating how technology aimed at preemptively disrupting criminal activities organized via Twitter and Blackberry Messenger, the authorities in the UK have also married their extensive CCTV network with Flickr to help enlist the public to identify suspected looters. A complete Internet shutdown has proven to be ineffective in countries throughout the Middle East during the recent periods of unrest, so a targeted solution that was able to determine if a person was in the midst of planning criminal activity and then shut down that person’s access might do the trick. Alas the execution of such a thing is fraught with technical and logistical challenges (not to be confused with impossible). That said the UK is not ruled by an autocratic despot was the case in more than one of the aforementioned Middle Eastern nations, so the notions of privacy and civil liberties are much more of a significant issue that needs to be balanced with the sovereign responsibility to protect the health and welfare of one’s citizens. I do not envy the decisions that have to be made by Mr. Cameron.
- UK Prime Minister exploring social media crackdown in wake of London riots (video) (engadget.com)
- UK Prime Minister Proposes Banning Suspected Rioters From Social Media (mashable.com)
- UK Prime Minister’s Anti-Tech Crackdown: Stupid, Useless, and Wrong [UK Riots] (gizmodo.com)
- Former British Telecom CTO: U.K. Plans to Control Social Media ‘All Bluff’ (blogs.wsj.com)
- UK Govt. to meet Facebook, Twitter and RIM about their responsibility to not fuel riots (thenextweb.com)