Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Twitter United Kingdom Censorship Communications Facebook Government Social Networks Your Rights Online

Twitter To Meet With UK Government About Riots 186

Posted by timothy
from the paper-and-whistle-makers-too-I-hope dept.
conner_bw writes "Twitter has confirmed that it will meet with the UK Home Secretary on Thursday, after being called in for discussions over the role it played in the recent UK riots. Twitter will send a representative to the meeting scheduled for August 25. Both Facebook and RIM will also send representatives to the meeting in regards to their effects on the riots."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Twitter To Meet With UK Government About Riots

Comments Filter:
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 22, 2011 @06:53PM (#37172822)

    Will there be representatives from the telephone company, and the postal services, to answer for the roles they played in the riots? What about mainstream print, radio, and television media who made others aware of the riots, and carried the idea of unrest to others, who then joined in?

    The communication medium is but the messenger.

    • by bennomatic (691188) on Monday August 22, 2011 @06:56PM (#37172872) Homepage
      I heard most of those rioters wore shoes. Maybe shoe companies should be taken to task for all the malfeasance they enable.
      • I heard most of those rioters wore shoes.

        I heard most of those rioters had feet. Maybe we should look into those parents who have been plotting for years to enable the riots, by raising those ambulatory children... teaching them to stand erect, to walk, even to run and evade capture.

    • Mod parent up! I was just about to say the same thing, but you said it better.

      And when did it become OK to shift responsibility and blame to anywhere and everywhere except the people who actually committed the crimes?

      • When opinions and emotions are involved, probably.

      • by PopeRatzo (965947) * on Monday August 22, 2011 @09:39PM (#37173958) Homepage Journal

        And when did it become OK to shift responsibility and blame to anywhere and everywhere except the people who actually committed the crimes?

        When a small group of banksters committed fraud to crash the world economy, ruining lives and pushing hundreds of millions of people into poverty or economic uncertainty.

        Don't fool yourself. The biggest crimes are the ones where it's " OK to shift responsibility and blame to anywhere and everywhere except the people who actually committed the crimes". And the same people who paid for those crimes are going to pay for the crimes that occur when social contracts break down and civil violence occurs: everyone but the ones responsible.

        • by AmiMoJo (196126)

          There are two reasons most bankers got away with wrecking the economy.

          Firstly we encouraged them to do it. In the 1980s Thatcher wanted the UK to become the world's first post-industrial economy. Everyone should own a house and a car, funded by loans. Everyone should be able to own shares in private companies, and the state should do as little as possible itself so that private enterprise can move in and take over those services for profit. We kept voting for those policies* that were building up banks and

          • * Okay, I didn't, I was too young to vote, and some people voted Labour.

            Actually, by the end Labour were the same as the Tories at sucking up to big business. Possibly worse, in fact, as at least some Tories have some experience in business and would have known when they were being fed bullshit.

    • Speaking with a cab driver here in London this morning, he claimed there have been 1,900 arrests in London over the riots. 1,900 would seem a remarkably high number, and I challenged him on it. He said it was information he gathered from some sort of official who was a fare the previous day.

      If they did arrest this number of people, it's remarkable and I would strongly suspect collusion from social media outlets as part of the roundup effort. GPS on your phone, anyone?

      • by Stevecrox (962208) on Tuesday August 23, 2011 @03:56AM (#37175622) Journal
        It sounds close to the official number as quick glance at BBC news's website shows. [bbc.co.uk] Nothing to do with collusion, people keep talking about all of the CCTV camera's in the UK police have been identifying people through that. Most of the papers have also been printing pictures of rioters in an effort to identify them, there are about half a dozen stories of mothers turning in their kids when they saw the child's photo in a national paper.

        This meeting is the higher ups way of looking like they are doing something to daily mail readers, I'm hoping nothing comes of it especially when you realise Twitter & Facebook were used by people to organise clean-ups and identify the rioters.

        There has also been a lot of talk about the harshness of the punishments handed down to rioters. The UK doesn't require mobile phones to have Government available GPS tracking like the USA. You can only check-in with Facebook/Google latitude and not twitter.
      • It was up to ~1000 last time I checked at the end of last week. 1900 isn't outside the realms of possibility, but yes, it does seem a little high.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I love how the gov'ts love to go blah blah blah blah instead of helping to fix the causes that caused people to want to riot in the first place. Plenty of $$$$$$ to flap gums but not actualy fix things

    • Dear Sirs, Downing Street Hacks, and assorted Parliamentarians: We simply convey the tweets. Your nasty little island produced the twits tweeting them.

      Yours sincerely,
      A useless, but harmless, web startup from somewhere that hasn't had any rioting issues lately.
    • by bigbird (40392)

      The communication medium may be the messenger. But would the rioting and looting have taken off to the same extent without Blackberries and Twitter?

      They aren't culpable, but it seems reasonable to explore ways to help prevent this happening in future.

      • by fafaforza (248976)

        And if you shut Twitter down, or started tracking its users, how many minutes would it take for people to find an alternative? Haven't they attempted to unopen Pandora's Box before with music, Kazza, etc? How did that work for them? More money being wasted by clueless suits in government.

      • The answer is "Yes, rioting and looting could have taken off to the same extent without Blackberries and Twitter."

        The 1992 riots in LA lasted 6 days. 53 people died and damange was pegged at $1 billion. The recent London riots were nowhere near as bad (3-4 days, 5 dead, £200-M damage).

        1992 was long before Twitter, SMS, BBM or even real cellphone use.

        Anything imposed on Twitter, Blackberry and other social networking tools to prevent future riots, would be equivalent to landline phone companies in 199

    • by JWSmythe (446288)

      It's long been suspected that "ECHLON" already monitors phone calls, faxes, and emails. But hey, maybe all their gear is just a huge expensive decoration, to distract tinfoil hat wearing conspiracy freaks. The truth is somewhere in the middle. :)

      RIM's SMS most likely don't leave their network. Why would they? If I recall correctly, they are encrypted at the phone, so they wouldn't be easy to intercept at the tower.

      The same would also apply to cell pro

    • by leenks (906881)

      Well, at least the Government (that nobody voted for) will be there to discuss their role in the riots too!

      • by xaxa (988988)

        Well, at least the Government (that nobody voted for) will be there to discuss their role in the riots too!

        Didn't we? 16 million people voted for either Conservatives or Liberal Democrats, and a little less than that voted for someone else. Seems like we got what we asked for.

        • True, but nobody voted for both - which is what we actually got.

          • by xaxa (988988)

            True, but nobody voted for both - which is what we actually got.

            Getting both is much fairer than somehow choosing one or the other.

            • By that logic a Conservative-Labour coalition would have been fairer still, since they were the two most popular parties.

              Of course, the paradox is really that the people who voted for one partner didn't like the other one much - or they'd have voted for them instead.

              • by xaxa (988988)

                By that logic a Conservative-Labour coalition would have been fairer still, since they were the two most popular parties.

                It would, sort of. The idea is they argue it out in Parliament, on behalf of their voters, and find a compromise.

    • by daem0n1x (748565)

      Don't worry. This is just politicians doing what they do best: Attacking the consequences instead of the causes. Solves nothing, but makes them look tough, and allows for some more anti-freedom legislation. A few more riots and the UK will have the privacy laws of Saudi Arabia or Iran, which is what the Government wants in the first place.

    • by elrous0 (869638) *

      More importantly, how about representatives from the Chinese, Iranian, and Syrian governments--who are also interested in establishing a way to shut down Twitter in times of social unrest.

  • Double Standard (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 22, 2011 @06:55PM (#37172864)

    When it happens in Egypt and Libya, its an amazing tool for freedom of speech and the spread of democracy.

    When it happens in your own back yard, its a problem.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by MakinBacon (1476701)
      There's a fine line between staging a revolution and looting an electronics store, my friend.
      • Re:Double Standard (Score:5, Insightful)

        by no-body (127863) on Monday August 22, 2011 @07:14PM (#37173048)

        Any social problems in that area - like high unemployment, low standard of living, educational/career dead-end. other types of violence/repression, possibly from government agencies?

        And - if so, what are the solutions of the local governments?

        One person protesting there was interviewed and stated that news media would not care unless fuss would be created.
         
        A fine line.... right.

        • by digitig (1056110)

          Any social problems in that area - like high unemployment, low standard of living, educational/career dead-end. other types of violence/repression, possibly from government agencies?

          In some of the areas where there were riots and looting. Not in others. And the rioters seem to come from across the social spectrum (the teenage daughter of a millionaire has been arrested, although she has pleaded not guilty). The rioters, and their reasons for rioting, were so diverse that every pundit can find cases to support their political or social agenda, and the opponents of every pundit can find cases that disprove it. If anybody (eg, David Cameron) says that the causes were simple then they are

          • In some of the areas where there were riots and looting. Not in others. And the rioters seem to come from across the social spectrum (the teenage daughter of a millionaire has been arrested, although she has pleaded not guilty)..

            Is that champagne looting rather than socialism then, wrt millionaire daughters

        • by MightyYar (622222)

          One person protesting there was interviewed and stated that news media would not care unless fuss would be created.

          Right, because they tried peacefully protesting first, and that didn't work.</sarcasm>

          • You forgot to open your sarcasm tag, so there's a syntax error and a logic error. The logic being you are making a ton of assumptions:
            1. The rioter being interviewed was talking about himself, not the youth in general
            2. The rioter had not been involved in protests prior to the riot
            3. The rioter's not having protested invalidates his observation

            Frankly, the observation that the media tend to only care about spectacle, and focus in on the spectacle even when it isn't the center of an issue, seems pretty self eviden

            • by MightyYar (622222)

              Frankly, the observation that the media tend to only care about spectacle, and focus in on the spectacle even when it isn't the center of an issue, seems pretty self evident.

              The media seems to do a pretty good job covering large protests, even when peaceful. I don't mean follow the letter of the law and get permits and meet in designated areas. I mean a peaceful version of the riots. Gandhi and Martin Luther King and the Arab Spring have shown what peaceful protest can bring. Burning and looting your own neighborhood will get you nowhere. If you are going to go the violent route, you'd better be prepared to see it out and win (Libya) or you'll be worse off as the loser.

              Your lin

              • It's the same weird collection of unrelated causes every time they meet for G7, G20 or World Bank summits. The protests got a lot of press the first dozen times, but failed to grab much popular support. If the ghettos of London rose up in peaceful protest, that would certainly get the attention of the media.

                Where is globlisaisation man I don know like nobody come from dere like is it in affric or somefink no way I's goink on no march walk thing man if I ain't got no wheels and I mean some smart wheels then

          • by anyGould (1295481)

            One person protesting there was interviewed and stated that news media would not care unless fuss would be created.

            Right, because they tried peacefully protesting first, and that didn't work.</sarcasm>

            Actually, they did - the full interview had the youth pointing out that 20,000 people protested peacefully outside Scotland Yard a few months ago. Media and government completely ignored them. The youth said words to the effect of "you're paying attention to us now, aren't you?".

            • by MightyYar (622222)

              20,000? I'm sorry, but you need more than a soccer match to get media attention.

              I'm not saying that their concerns aren't legitimate. It's just that violent uprising only works to improve your situation if you win.

        • One person said they were "gettin their taxes back" as they ran off with a flat screen TV. The reporter asked what does that even mean? They had no response. Let's not forget these lovelies http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-14458424

          Puhlease, who are you trying to bullshit?

          • by no-body (127863)

            "gettin their taxes back"

            Let's not forget these lovelies http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-14458424 [bbc.co.uk]

            contains:

            London rioters: 'Showing the rich we do what we want'

            This seems to be a better attempt to try to explain what was happening:

            http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2011/aug/09/london-riots-who-took-part [guardian.co.uk]

            Definitely a mix of motives

          • by fafaforza (248976)

            But aren't you using a few individuals (individuals that a newspaper editor chose to portray on TV/paper/site) to paint a picture of the whole group? A pretty small sample size. And likely a biased one at that, no? Are we going to kid ourselves into believing that newspapers operate independently of the interests of those in power?

            Besides, I'd like to see the well crafted harangue you could come up with when someone sticks a mic in your face out of nowhere. You don't know that that person didn't have so

        • by Xest (935314)

          The problem is that whilst poverty and unemployment might well have been a cause, they were not an excuse.

          The North of England has long seen much higher levels of poverty and unemployment yet these riots didn't get much further north than Birmingham bar Manchester. Yorkshire was fair quiet, as were the likes of Newcastle and Scotland- places generally known for having rather prominent chavish underclass yet for some reason- even when all their police had been sent down to London meaning it would be even eas

      • aye, while I agree there is little defense for what the rioters do, there is something important about them having the technology to have either option. You can't ban talking to each-other, or even saying specific things (even if it is down with big brother). The right to say things the government dosn't want you to say should be fought for, regardless of the consequences, and banning twitter etc... just gives the rioters/looters something to justify their actions with.
        • Re:Double Standard (Score:5, Insightful)

          by AngryDeuce (2205124) on Monday August 22, 2011 @07:37PM (#37173228)

          With the speed with the government can clamp down on the citizenry with it's resources, it's only fair that the population have access to the same level of coordination. I think we would all agree that all societies have the right of self-determination, and if self-determination takes the form of open rebellion and revolution, that's the price we pay for democracy.

          These days, freedom to communicate via the internet and text messaging is almost as important as the right to assemble, and definitely as vital. The powers that be are using their authority in order to force it's agenda on the citizenry. Whether they agree or not, if the citizenry decides to rise up against them and defy their authority, is immaterial. Government exists at the will of the people, not the other way around.

        • by bronney (638318)

          Would you keep it down bro? If "they" block slashdot I wouldn't know what to do in my basement :(

          • by gmhowell (26755)

            Would you keep it down bro? If "they" block slashdot I wouldn't know what to do in my basement :(

            Judging by the state of your palms, you find plenty to do in the basement.

      • by Hatta (162192)

        Problem is, you can't enable governments to stop one without enabling them to stop the other.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward
        Yes, the key difference is whether NATO supports it by shooting at the police and dropping weaponry on the looters or not.
      • by Kvasio (127200)

        you call it looting, some call it "electronics liberation"

      • by timeOday (582209)

        There's a fine line between staging a revolution and looting an electronics store, my friend.

        But not that much. Most political political discontent (beyond a few radicals like Noam Chomsky) is really just about pain in the pocketbook. (Perhaps you've hard of the Boston Tea Party, or have even noticed that "it's the economy, stupid" in US presidential politics lately.) When people's quality of life goes down, they get angry. When enough people can no longer afford food, it's game over. That's what ha

        • The only thing "radical" about Noam Chomsky is that he speaks the truth to power, backed up with plenty of verifiable real world references (which make the often repeated 'He is no more than a conspiracy theorist' little more than a sound bite for the seriously-uninformed to repeat). When presidential candidates dare do the same [salon.com], they are disappeared off the media circus.

          • by timeOday (582209)
            Well, I didn't call him a conspiracy theorist, did I? I don't follow him all that closely, and I would be surprised if he hasn't said some indefensible things occasionally over the years, but it's evident he's not motivated by narrow self-interest. I was kind of disgusted watching how little voters cared about what we did to Iraq, vs how we exploded when our finances took a dump.
      • by elrous0 (869638) *

        One man's freedom fighter is another man's criminal.

    • by couchslug (175151)

      Not the same thing and you know that very well.

      http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/story/2011/08/11/riots-men-killed-reverend.html [www.cbc.ca]

      Egypt and Libya are examples of oppressed peoples rising up to demand inalienable rights.

      The UK is an example of chav scum smashing shit (and killing innocent fellow citizens, lest you forget!) for shits and giggles.

    • Shut up. I disagree with the looting and protests in the UK. Therefore, no one participating wanted to change anything. And "no one" means "not many people" (which, of course, makes complete sense).

  • Twitter does't kill people, tweets kill people.
    • by siddesu (698447)
      The keyboard is mightier than the flick knife, eh?
  • I wish there were some way that they could tell the world what happens at the meeting.

  • by Timmmm (636430)

    I think this is probably the most stupid thing the Tories have done so far.

    • by IonOtter (629215)

      Key phrase being "so far".

      Don't worry, there's more than enough time for them to REALLY cock things up.

    • by 0123456 (636235)

      I think this is probably the most stupid thing the Tories have done so far.

      It doesn't even come close to being visibile on the list of stupid things the current government have done so far.

  • How dumb can they get.

    Twitter only was used by peeps like me in other countries to rebroadcast the pics and vids they tried to pretend weren't happening.

    It was Blackberry messenger that was being used to coordinate things.

    Total insanity.

    Btw, I used to do counter-terrorism ops, and right now high-end automobiles are being burnt in record numbers in Germany.

    You can't put the genie back in the bottle - either create jobs for youth and stop subsidizing the rich, or watch your country burn.

    • by lgw (121541)

      I used to do counter-terrorism ops, and right now high-end automobiles are being burnt in record numbers in Germany.

      That's a bizarre non-sequitur in the middle of a sentence!

      either create jobs for youth and stop subsidizing the rich, or watch your country burn.

      England has socialism up to its eyebrows. They've created a nearly-unemployable class of young people by removing any need to work (for the basics). The jobs are there, yet most low-skilled jobs are filled by immigrants (I was in London recently, and it seemed everyone in a service role had a French accent; it was very strange). Jobs programs have been tried, and people would simply not show up, or be so lacking in basic literacy, numeracy, or wor

  • They should all give a response in the words of Sir Alex Ferguson: "Fuck off."

  • Protection racket! I knew Twitter had to have an ace in the hole monetization scheme in there somewhere...

  • by v(*_*)vvvv (233078) on Monday August 22, 2011 @09:15PM (#37173832)

    The UK government were friends with their citizens and followed them on twitter, they'd have a clue what all the commotion was about...

  • by Sarten-X (1102295) on Monday August 22, 2011 @11:53PM (#37174588) Homepage

    I know it's terribly unpopular to be the voice of reason in a "GOVERNMENT IS BAD" discussion, but this meeting may not be a bad thing. Perhaps the government just wants insight into how they can get advance notice of violent trends. Perhaps Twitter can provide easy access to its data, to find people bragging about the loot they took. Perhaps whatever socioeconomic factors (if any) that led to the riots could be derived from other posts by the rioters, and the government could better understand the problems it faces.

    But hey... never mind me. Let's all continue jumping to conclusions anyway. Up next, Linux Torvalds looks at Windows 8. Could this mean Microsoft secretly controls Linux development?

  • Twitter in China = FREEDOM Twitter in the UK = NASTINESS Cameron you utter hypocrite.
    • Your premise rests on a false assumption of equality, namely that the UK government is as repressive as the Chinese one.

  • Shoe, clothing, jewelry, gun, car, match, and lighter companies were all called in for their roles.
    How dare they make products that can be used by destructive people!

"Love is a snowmobile racing across the tundra and then suddenly it flips over, pinning you underneath. At night, the ice weasels come." --Matt Groening

Working...