Clamping Social Networks ‘Unacceptable’ Says William Hague

UK Foreign Secretary William Hague has claimed that limiting or blocking access to social networking platforms was ‘unacceptable'.

Speaking during the London Conference on Cyberspace, Hague said that basic human rights like freedom of expression and speech should apply online as they do offline.

His comments come as UK Prime Minister David Cameroon told the parliament that the government was considering blocking access to social networking websites and limit smartphone functionality during the times of social unrest.

In the recent riots in London, people had used Facebook, Twitter and Research in Motion's BlackBerry Messenger service to organise rioters and stage lootings.

"Human rights are universal. Cultural differences are not an excuse to water down human rights, nor can the exploitation of digital networks by a minority of criminals or terrorists be a justification for states to censor their citizens," Hague said at the conference, which is expected to be attended by representatives of 60 nations reports The Guardian.

"We reject the view that government suppression of the internet, phone networks and social media at times of unrest is acceptable," he continued.

He also stressed on the importance of beefing up cyber security measures and added that countries with a weak cyber security infrastructure could fall prey to attacks from hostile nations with better capabilities.