shuting the web
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After several days of destructive riots throughout the UK, British Prime Minister David Cameron is practically tripping over himself in his eagerness to sacrifice liberty for security. In a speech before an emergency session of Parliament today, Cameron highlighted concern over rioters’ use of social media tools such as Facebook and Twitter: ...when people are using social media for violence we need to stop them. 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. I have also asked the police if they need any other new powers.
It has become such an intermeshed part of society that a world in which the internet suddenly goes down or is switched off is hard to imagine. The Hollywood-sized scenario reads like this: email, telephone and television services would go dark, media organisations become unable to gather and disseminate news, governments struggle to communicate emergency information, commerce grinds to a halt, shops run out of food, the transport system collapses and electricity supplies are be severely disrupted. Within months gangs of feral youths would take over the towns, cannibalising the weak and elderly, while citizens trembled behind barricaded doors, weeping over their useless copies of Call of Duty: Black Ops. In Britain there are two pieces of legislation which give the Government power to order the suspension of the internet and, in theory, bring about web armageddon.