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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

UK Home Secretary Will Ban Troublemakers

It seems that the UK police team up on banning people, with Theresa May revealing that the troublemakers might be banned from social media after meetings with such industry giants as Facebook, Twitter and the rest.

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Starting with a question on how to address gang culture, Theresa May pointed at the ongoing discussion with representatives of the largest social media networks and BlackBerry. The meetings were also held with the participation of Association of Chief Police Offices and the Metropolitan Police. Regular contact has been kept up since the summer events.

It turned out that taking offline social networks was entirely unrealistic and shortsighted. It seems that the government has finally understood this and is currently considering a more targeted approach. The UK Home Secretary said during a Commons debate that they consider the idea of kicking people off social networks if they have breached “terms and conditions”. Theresa May also noted that there were subsequent meetings on a one-to-one basis between the police and a number of individual companies.

However, she never said how a move to block Internet users from, for example, Facebook could be implemented in reality – especially nowadays, when any web savvy kid knows that it is very easy to circumvent a ban. The industry observers tried to find out how Home Office is planning to kick off people from social networks. In respond, Home Office said that any decisions to delete users from the networks would be subject to discussions between the police and the social networks, as well as subject to terms and conditions. However, there are still no clear rules at the moment, because the meetings are still taking place. In addition, Home Office admitted it won’t be issuing any directives, because it is not getting into the territory of banning individuals right now.

Although the proposed curbs on social media have proved to be a very a controversial issue, one of the recent studies suggests the community is actually in favor of a wider blackout. A survey, carried out by Unisys, revealed that 2/3 of adults are actually in favor of shutting down social networks in times of civil unrest. In addition, 70% of respondents agreed to a blackout on Facebook, Twitter and BlackBerry. Meanwhile, only 27% of them were against such a move.

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