Police say Twitter and BBM gave riot 'intelligence'

Summary:The Metropolitan Police have said they did not request that services such as Twitter and BlackBerry Messenger be switched off during the UK riots, adding that social media provided useful intelligence

Despite accusations that social services such as BBM and Twitter were responsible for facilitating last week's UK riots, senior police figures have revealed they did not request that the services be switched off.

Prime Minister David Cameron said on Thursday the government is examining whether to stop individuals using social media if they are plotting violence or crime. However, the Metropolitan Police's acting deputy commissioner Tim Godwin told the Home Affairs Committee on Tuesday that while the Met did mull over getting social networks temporarily closed down during the riots, it backed away from such a plan, citing questions over legality.

"The legality of that is very questionable and additionally it is also a very useful intelligence asset. We did not request that that was turned off but it is something we are pursuing as part of our investigative strategy," he added.

For more on this ZDNet UK-selected story, see 'Twitter and BBM gave us riot intelligence - we decided against pulling plug': Met Police on silicon.com.


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Topics: Security

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Jo Best has been covering IT for the best part of a decade for publications including silicon.com, Guardian Government Computing and ZDNet in both London and Sydney.

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