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Phone Snooping ‘Prevented Riots’

Photo: Riemer Palstra (CC)

Photo: Riemer Palstra (CC)

To tweet or not tweet where you’re rioting next? One option was to shut down social networks so that rioters couldn’t mass communicate. The other option was to allow them to tweet and text, then read their messages to find out what they’re planning next. The latter was able to prevent attacks on the Olympic site and London’s Oxford Street. BBC reports:

Police say they prevented attacks by rioters on the Olympic site and London’s Oxford Street after picking up intelligence on social networks.

Assistant Met Police Commissioner Lynne Owens told a committee of MPs officers learned of possible trouble via Twitter and Blackberry messenger.

But Acting Commissioner Tim Godwin said he had considered asking authorities to switch off social networks.

He said they provided intelligence but could also be misleading.

A number of politicians, media commentators and members of the police force have suggested that Twitter and Blackberry Messenger (BBM) had a role to play in the riots.

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