Social Media and Civil Unrest
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Thread: Social Media and Civil Unrest

  1. #1
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    Social Media and Civil Unrest

    The UK called on Blackberry to shut down the Blackberry Information Service during the recent riots there.

    SF BART shut off cellular service recently at four stations due to threats of civil unrest.

    Mashable has a good article about why censoring social media at times like that is never the right thing to do.

    It's another case of a perfectly legal tool being used "improperly," or in this case, to stir up civil unrest. But is that necessarily a bad thing? And BART ran a huge risk cutting cell service. What if someone had needed to call 911 for an unrelated situation?
    Bob Mueller
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  3. #2
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    Not to mention the folks being robbed or assulted by flash mobs are unable to call for help. Nice to carry something other than a cell phone.

  4. Cell phones, text messaging, Twitter, Facebook, etc, are not 'rights'. "Freedom of speech" from government censorship is.

    It's a fine line between the government ordering a company to shut down communication and the government asking a company to do so. For example, a few years ago, Qwest Communication refused to hand over calling records to the NSA. The NSA didn't have any "order" to get them, they just asked. The other telcos handed them over. They were free to do so, as corporate record privacy isn't guaranteed. If a company DECIDES to hand things over, it's not illegal. if a company DECIDES to shut down service at the request of the government, it's not illegal. But when the government punished the head of Qwest in response for their refusal, that's when it's a problem.

    It bugs me that cell companies complied with BART's request, but it's their right. I wish at least one hadn't, though. That would have made it really easy for me to pick which company to switch my service to.

  5. #4
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    I don't think cellular providers had anything to do with it. I suspect someone at BART turned off the repeaters so there was no signal down there.

  6. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nightmare45 View Post
    Not to mention the folks being robbed or assulted by flash mobs are unable to call for help. Nice to carry something other than a cell phone.
    It used to be that a "Flash Mob" means many dancers or singers in the mall or train stations, etc. -- now it has a different meaning. That something nice to carry will be your weapon, at least to put a stop to the stupidity happening around the country now. So far, one here in Missouri...but with a good outcome.
    "Don't let the door hit ya where the dawg shudda bit ya!"
    G'day and Glock
    GATEWAY SWIFT WING ST. LOUIS

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