11 August 2011

Proposed logo for the London 2012 Olympics

One thing that has troubled me about the looting in England, other than the anarchy itself, was the observation often made by commentators that the gangs of youths were targeting sites using social media.  It seemed to me that it would only be a matter of time before someone would call for the power to "shut down the internet" in times of civil strife.

It didn't take long, and the speaker was David Cameron:
"Mr Speaker, 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. And when people are using social media for violence we need to stop them.

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."
Text via. Image source.


  1. That logo looks about right.

    As for restricting social media in times of unrest:
    The people of England don't have a right to free-speech under their laws do they?
    The government can restrict how and where people speak in England, not a scholar here but they are much more resticitve than in the U.S.
    Heck, you have to pay a tax to watch television in the UK

  2. Nice to see that my government, the government that condemned the authorities in Egypt for stopping phone and internet networks, is even considering this...

  3. For leaders, democracy seems like a good idea... elsewhere

  4. Cameron probably thinks teaching them to read and write was another big mistake.

  5. In Cleveland, Ohio the city council recently passed an ordinance making it a misdemeanor to induce another to commit a crime using social media. Ridiculous. And it was strict liability too, so even if you tweeted "come to a Critical Mass ride" and someone saw it, came to the ride and started a fight you could be punished. Thankfully the mayor vetoed it.

  6. I listened to some of the Parliamentary debate today on C-SPAN radio. I was struck about all the focus on police force, prison, and punishment, and NO consideration of addressing the underlying problems that might engender such behavior. The MPs seem so far from their constituents, they have no insight into what the problem is and so turn to terrible force and punishments.

  7. I simply cannot believe the rank hypocrisy coming out of the PM's mouth. This is a man who, while at university, belonged to a club whose annual end-of-year festivities consisted of booking an evening at a very high-end restaurant, enjoying an amazing meal, and then destroying the restaurant's interior and furnishings. Then, when the frantic/distraught owner protested, they would stand around him in a circle, laughing and throwing wadded-up £100 notes at him.

  8. "shut down the internet"

    Um, just how long ago was it that here in the US it was seriously proposed that the [Federal] Government be able to shutdown/takeover the 'net during "emergencies"? A few months?

  9. Shutting down the internet to prevent severe social unrest always works well. Just look at what happened in Egypt. Very peaceful.

  10. I propose an open question: What powers SHOULD a government have to prevent anarchy?

    Everyone is very quick to chime in on the powers they should not use... But I do believe most people enjoy the state of non-anarchy in their town.

  11. What can the govt do? that's easy, do their best by ALL of the people and have only one law for king and country.
    We always export bad things http://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=205532000507 and we even get to use some of this crap at home: I could not find a link but it was in the 90s when a thousand or so Haitians arrived uninvited from Haiti onto a Florida shoreline. We let them stay for a while, but first we attached active GPS bracelets to them. I wondered at what point we decided these things were needed. I mean, this stuff was already designed, deployed, and in boxes ready to clamp on humans.
    Didn't make me feel any safer then or now...


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