Government control of social media: take away Murdoch’s phones!

12 Aug

As predicted, British PM David Cameron is now flagging the possibility of controlling social media access to those the authorities perceive as responsible for inciting and participating in anti-social behaviour such as rioting and looting.

Just how this would work in practice is not yet clear, if indeed it is possible at all. The police confiscate the social media tools of anybody found wearing a hoodie? Males of particular ethnic appearance between the ages of x and x are obliged to relinquish their phones in times of unrest? Females with black nail polish and piercings likewise?

Who will judge that the usual suspects are in the throes of planning a campaign of violent civil disobedience? What criteria will they use?  Will Britain become one of those authoritarian regimes that shuts down the Internet when there’s trouble?

The idea is ludicrous. It’s another of those impotent threats trotted out by politicians who have no control over events, and are desperately casting about to find some punishment that will dissuade the mob from ever doing it again.

The threat of taking away their toys if they don’t behave is likely to incite further explosive protest. This is a cohort that already believes it’s over surveilled and singled out for police persecution.

Has anybody thought to threaten the Murdoch empire with the restriction or removal of their phones if they don’t stop hacking? Didn’t think so.

3 Responses to “Government control of social media: take away Murdoch’s phones!”

  1. gerard oosterman August 12, 2011 at 5:06 pm #

    Next Cameron will be sewing up the pockets of all men wearing hoodies and force feed them hard boiled eggs injected with bromide.


  2. Matthew August 14, 2011 at 9:18 am #

    Controlling, blocking or shutting down social media is exactly what Iran, Syria and Egypt have done in the past. It is rather hypocritical of Mr Cameron to suggest this while at the same time he berates countries who have done this to attempt to squash opposition.

    There’s also the major problem of say shutting down mobile phone networks in an event such as the riots. How the hell would people be able contact emergency services if they had no access to a land line? Been following the internet censorship debate since it was first suggested in 1999 by the Howard government. Why the hell are politicians such luddites?

    Of course focusing on mobile phones and social media ignores the problems which caused the riots. Not that it matters to Cameron. He doesn’t give a shit.


    • Jennifer Wilson August 14, 2011 at 6:40 pm #

      I’m amused at the way Cameron is bagging the police when he stayed in Tuscany for a couple of days before going back – and Christine Nixon copped all that trouble because she ate dinner out –
      I think Cameron is a prat


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