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Debate in UK Over the Use of Social Media During Civil Unrest

Social media sites should not be blocked during law and order situations as they be quite handy when it comes to providing intelligence to the law enforcement agencies, claims London mayor Boris Johnson.

Interestingly, Mr. johnson’s stand on the issue is exactly opposite to what the UK government claims. According to the UK government, social media sites should withdraw their services, or at least take a pro active role in preventing rogue elements from using their services to cause trouble for the police and civil society.

The mayor’s comment has come at a crucial time when representatives from social networking juggernauts Facebook and Twitter along with the BlackBerry maker Research In Motion are scheduled to take part in a conference arranged by the UK home secretary Theresa May on Thursday to discuss how rogue elements exploited the services from these companies to plan and execute the recent London riots.

“On the contrary, the briefings I’ve had so far on this matter make it clear that social media and being able to follow things on Twitter is of some intelligence benefit to the police,” the mayor said, as reported by the Financial Times.