And Now … London Riots? Blame The Blackberry!

London Riots? Blame The Blackberry! (Techdirt, Aug 9, 2011):

from the oh-come-on dept

The London riots sound a bit crazy, but perhaps even crazier is the fact that officials now seem to want to blame messaging via Blackberry devices for the riots:

Steve Kavanagh, the deputy assistant commissioner of the Metropolitan police, said that “really inflamatory, inaccurate” messages on Twitter were mainly to blame for the disorder. “Social media and other methods have been used to organise these levels of greed and criminality,” he said at a press conference on Monday afternoon.

Ah, right, just like vocal cords, pamphlets, telephones and other communication tools “were mainly to blame” for previous riots. Hint to the Metropolitan police: if you’re going to always blame the tool, you’re not going to do a very good job dealing with riots. If people want to speak out, they’ll figure out a way to speak out. It’s not the technology that is to blame. The technology is just a tool, and if you block off one path, you can be damn sure that they’ll figure out another path instead.

Of course, the downside of officials misleadingly blaming the technology is that you get folks like this Dutch politician who took to Twitter about this to ask why police don’t just turn off Blackberry Messenger in London — perhaps not realizing that shutting that channel of communications down wouldn’t stop anything — but likely would anger people even more.

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