Government considering social-media kill switch

The Government is considering whether it can – or should – shut down social-media sites in the fall-out from the UK riots.

Government considering social-media kill switch

Several people have been arrested for inciting violence over Facebook and Twitter, while BlackBerry has offered its help to police following rumours its Messenger service was being used to coordinate looting.

However, social media has also been used to organise the clean-up efforts.

Speaking to recalled MPs in a special sitting of Parliament, Prime Minister David Cameron has said the Government is considering whether it was “right” to block such communications.

The free flow of information can be used for good, but it can also be used for ill

“Everyone watching these horrific actions will be stuck by how they were organised via social media,” Cameron told Parliament. “The free flow of information can be used for good, but it can also be used for ill.

“So we are working with the police, intelligence services and industry to look at whether it would be right to stop people communicating via websites and services when we know they are plotting violence, disorder and criminality.”

He didn’t elaborate on how such services would be blocked, however.

Cameron also claimed “we are making technology work for us” and said policing agencies would continue to publish photos of alleged looters to help investigative efforts. He said “no phoney human rights concerns about publishing photographs will get in the way of bringing these criminals to justice.”

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