SOCIAL NETWORKS: Suddenly, hearsay evidence against them is OK

Theresa May….whistling in the dark

There’s a bigwig’s meeting today over at the Home Office. Theresa ‘Nobody tells me anything’ May has invited the great and good from the major online social networks to discuss what to do the next time there’s a new Itablet launch and looting begins again should there be another outbreak of disorder among the socially deprived.

But looking across the media reportage in recent days, the evidence against the networks is decidedly thin. (My emphases)

The BBC: ‘ The networks were criticised during the riots after it emerged they may have been used to plan some of the disorder….. Networks such as Blackberry Messenger were said to have enabled looters to organise their movements during the riots, as well as inciting violence in some cases….a number of people have appeared in Court facing related charges.’

In fact, those convicted to date total 4 (four). The Met Police have made it clear in advance that shutting down the networks would be “of highly questionable legality”. May’s office issued a statement saying that there was “no suggestion” that any of the sites would be closed down. And an anonymous Blackberry source told The Slog that the idea was “knee-jerk rubbish”. So there doesn’t seem to be much to discuss.

File this one under Being Seen to be Doing Something. In the meantime, during dawn raids yesterday the Met’s finest arrested 40 suspected gangsters on suspicion of plotting to cause mayhem at the Notting Hill Carnival. That sounds like doing something to me; but action so far largely consists of rounding up, banging up and closing down. I haven’t as yet seen a serious policy suggestion from any political Party about tackling the causes of heavily discounted self-service technology shopping.