Facebook/Twitter etc "bans"

Ian Mason ukcrypto at sourcetagged.ian.co.uk
Thu Aug 11 17:40:53 BST 2011

On 11 Aug 2011, at 16:00, Adrian Midgley wrote:

> On 11 August 2011 12:23, Ian Batten <igb at batten.eu.org> wrote:
>>> 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.
> RIPA already gives powers at least sufficient for reading their comms.
> Surely it is more useful to read, and record, them and be inside their
> decision-action loops and able to intercept them on the ground than
> ....
> Perhaps it was conscious disinformation.
> -- 
> Adrian Midgley   http://www.defoam.net/

The police have been putting out announcements about this, one of  
which I quote in its entirety here:

> Metropolitan Police Statement following rumours on Social Media
> Thursday 11th of August 2011
> ·We are aware of rumours circulating on social networks which are  
> untrue, unhelpful and intended to increase tension between  
> communities. Those involved in the violent disorder and thefts over  
> the past few days are not from any single race, religion or  
> community group. This is unnecessary and we urge people to stop  
> using recent events as an opportunity to cause unrest.
> ·We are pleased to see that communities are coming together as one  
> to reject the scenes of criminality we have seen over the past few  
> days
> ·The police and other authorities are tackling those involved and  
> are taking firm action in order to prevent crime, protect  
> communities and bring those involved before the courts.
> Anyone with information should call our incident room on 020 8345  
> 4142. Alternatively you can call the Crimestoppers charity  
> anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Note the "We are aware of rumours circulating on social networks which  
are untrue, unhelpful and intended to increase tension between  
communities.".  What they are alluding to is rumours circulating after  
the fatal shooting by the police of Mark Duggan. Notice that they  
don't talk of the use of social networks to plan rioting/looting.

Immediately after the shooting of Mark Duggan the police version of  
events centred on the facts that a police officer has been injured, a  
bullet recovered from his radio and a "non-police issue handgun" had  
been recovered at the scene. There was an implication in police  
briefings that Duggan had shot at police and been killed in self  
defence. What we know know is that a "planned" arrest was conducted in  
an incompetent fashion and the police managed to accidentally shoot  
themselves and kill a man who may well have been completely innocent  
of any aggression towards the police. I find it difficult to treat  
this as anything other than deliberate 'spin', particularly in the  
light of previous similar events such as the Stockwell shooting where  
the police have been seen to have been not merely economical with the  
truth but damn right miserly.

It seems to me that the police, and by extension the politician's  
concerns, are about controlling the desire of the common man to get to  
the truth in the face of an officialdom that is no longer trusted or  
believed. Consequentially I'm deeply suspicious of any moves to  
restrict people's access to communication in the name of maintaining  
law and order.

If for one moment I believed that the suggestion was to  
proportionately control dissemination of plans for criminal activity I  
would support it, but it isn't and I don't.


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