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David Cameron proposes social network shutdown

by Jorge Hernandez on August 12, 2011

As riots swept through London and the other surrounding towns earlier this week, many speculated that protesters were coordinating their efforts through Twitter and Blackberry messages. Prime Minister David Cameron recently told English lawmakers that he is looking into banning people who may be involved in planning riots from numerous social networking sites, BBC News reports.

Cameron mentioned that he would meet with Facebook and Twitter officials in an effort to go over how, and if, he could even be able to curtail the spread of messages on the two websites. Additionally, he is talking to news channels to demand that they hand over any unused footage of the riots so they can identify the criminals.

Despite Cameron's desires to limit communication on social networks, it may not be that easy. The Daily Mail reports that experts are skeptical that the government can curb the use of technology in any way. Still, Cameron told Parliament he is optimistic.

"Free flow of information can be used for good. But it can also be used for ill," he said. "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."

The riots, which began almost a week ago, were in response to the killing of Mark Duggan in Tottenham. As of Thursday, five people have been killed as a result of the rioting and more than 1,000 people have been arrested. Though originally contained to the English capital, the riots eventually spread to Liverpool, Bristol and Medway.

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