Users of social media, such as Twitter, Facebook and BlackBerry Messenger (BBM), could see their access to services blocked if they are “plotting violence, disorder and criminality”, the Prime Minister has told Parliament.
David Cameron said that “everyone watching these horrific actions will be stuck by how they were organised via social media. Free flow of information can be used for good. But it can also be used for ill.”
He said that he has asked the police if they need new powers, and that Government is “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".
David Lammy, the MP for Tottenham, had called for BBM to be suspended so that rioters, many of whom were using the free service, would be prevented from planning further attacks. The police have also made a number of arrests after people made statements on Facebook that were allegedly inciting illegal behaviour.
A Number 10 source said that the Government would examine the technical and moral questions of blocking users’ access to a service, as well as looking at whether police powers had kept pace with modern technology. The Government is thought to be looking at how to block individual users, rather than shutting down entire services.
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