Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Social media at the mercy of UK government

Source: Press TV

Social networking firms Facebook, Twitter, and Research in Motion (RIM), maker of BlackBerry, have welcomed the forthcoming meeting with the British government.

British Home Secretary, Theresa May, is to hold a meeting with the executives of social networking firms to discuss the possibility of shutting down social media during future unrest in Britain.

Moreover, British Prime Minister, David Cameron, asserted that the unprecedented unrest across Britain had been mostly arranged through social media. Cameron acknowledged that “the police, the intelligence services and industry” cooperated with the government during the widespread unrest.

Cameron maintained that the British government had been looking at ways to prevent people from communicating with each other via social media when any sort of unrest threatens the country.

RIM, whose BlackBerry application has been a thorn in British government's side, has announced it would observe “both UK privacy laws as well as the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act.”

Facebook has also expressed approval of the forthcoming meeting asserting that it took measures to make sure Facebook would be “a safe and positive platform for people in the UK” during the widespread unrest.

Furthermore, a report in the Financial Times said that Twitter looked forward to discussing the issues with May.

Meanwhile, Open Rights Group executive director, Jim Killock, has condemned government's plans to ban social media asserting that such measures infringe upon people's right to freedom of expression.

Killock said that the police should not be able to suspend individuals from using social media and any suspension decision should be made at courts.

All these measures by the British government come as the British media accuses the Iranian government of blocking access to the Internet and violating freedom of expression while the online version of almost all British newspapers have created a link to Facebook for an unfiltered access to the Iranian users.

Nevertheless, social networking sites, like Facebook, have become a national security concern after Britain faced widespread unrest which some analysts believe was a direct result of the government's policies.

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