Why we shouldn’t ever allow UK government to control social networks

Right, time to put my cards on the table. I’m happy to say that I’m a conservative voter and that I support the government (even with those liberal hangers-on). Having said that, what a fool David Cameron is if he thinks that we should tolerate the UK intelligence services and the police having the ability to disable social networks during times of social unrest. Apart from the technical difficulties that he’d face, taking such steps would alienate the law-abiding majority and prevent social networks from being used for good.

If DC decides to shutdown FaceBook or Twitter, people will simply switch to Google Plus or PingChat. He can’t block access to every method of communication via the Internet and he’s deluded if he even thinks he can. The whole reason Blackberries are banned in parts of the Middle East is because the messages are routed through RIMs servers in Canada and are outside the control of the despotic regimes that try to control them. The Twitter hashtags #riotcleanup and the @shopalooter account demonstrate that social networks can be used for good as well as bad.

If DC wants to regain the public’s confidence he needs to ensure that the deterrent effect of long custodial sentences hangs over people who indulge in mob violence and he needs to ensure that the criminal justice system in the UK delivers custodial sentences when appropriate that are both punitive and rehabilitative in nature. Short sentences offer neither punishment, rehabilitation or protection for the public.

Author: Richard Bishop