Banning social media isn’t the answer to riots: sign the petition

Last week I wrote about how misguided David Cameron’s talk of banning use of social media in an effort to stop future riots was, and that it was more a matter of some politicians looking to blame the communications channels they themselves are least familiar with:

The number of communication technologies in the firing line is far short of the number involved in the events. Rolling TV coverage gave the events wall-to-wall coverage. National newspapers took the story to mass audiences well beyond the reach of a news channel. Numerous rioters were spotted talking into their mobile phones.

Calls in response the riots to change the rules over newspapers, TV or voice phone calls have not been made. It is only the new technologies that face those demands.

Or is it simply a question of politicians and pundits always trying to ban technologies they don’t use?

So great to see the Open Rights Group campaigning on the topic with a petition:

The Government is focusing on entirely the wrong problem in trying to increase their powers to ban, block or monitor people’s communications. Social networks like Twitter are used for a huge array of positive purposes such as warnings of danger and organising clean up projects. Blanket surveillance measures of private communications or increased powers to mine users data would undermine people’s freedom to communicate in very damaging ways, and would in no way address the problems at hand. Making laws in haste, with limited analysis and information, to deal with an exceptional problem is likely to create unbalanced laws and abuses of our rights.


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