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David Cameron turns water cannons on social networks

PM shoots Web2.0 messenger, but what about the Sky 'copter, Dave?

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David Cameron picked on social networks in Parliament this morning, when he told MPs – who were forced to cut short their holidays following four nights of looting, arson and violence in England – that he was considering such tech being barred when used by baddies.

"Mr Speaker, everyone watching these horrific actions will be stuck [sic] by how they were organised via social media," said the Prime Minister.

"Free flow of information can be used for good. But it can also be used for ill. And 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."

Cameron didn't single out any specific social networks.

It's been alleged that Blackberry's group messenger service, BBM – which operates within a private network – had played a big role in helping thugs crew-up in hotspots in London, Birmingham, Manchester and other parts of England.

The Daily Mail and the Sun, meanwhile, have pinpointed Twitter for helping apparently "feral" youths to incite violence by encouraging people to loot businesses and cause havoc across the land.

It's unclear, however, how Cameron might enforce such a move. Interestingly, he didn't mention the role played by television broadcasters in the riots – Sky and the BBC's seemingly omnipresent helicopters documented exactly where the violence was taking place.

So any naughty young man or woman watching the live footage arguably knew exactly which location to move on to if they fancied raiding Carphone Warehouse's stock. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

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