Blackberry Caught Up In Riot Aftermath

It’s inevitable that whenever something bad happens people will look for a quick, easy place to lay the blame.  Often some of that blame gets placed on some kind of technology and this time it’s Blackberry who’ve been caught up in the furore.

News reports are saying that Blackberry Messenger – BBM – has been widely used by theiving scum rioters accross the country to coordinate, plan and communicate information about police locations and tactics.

Tottenham MP David Lammy said in a radio interview that BBM was “one of reasons why unsophisticated criminals are outfoxing an otherwise sophisticated police force”. He then asked RIM to suspend the service overnight.

BBM seems to be popular with the looters for a number of reasons; it’s free, it’s a closed network and it allows a message to be sent to large number of recipients.  It’s like sending bulk text messages, but unlike texts BBM messages all pass through RIM’s servers meaning that RIM have an archive of all the messages that have been over the last few days.

RIM have announced via their twitter account that they will be helping the police, the tweet said:

“We feel for those impacted by the riots in London. We have engaged with the authorities to assist in any way we can.”

The announcement prompted nods of agreement from sane people across the country but it has sparked complaints from some quarters – notably from people who were not in any way effected by the riots.

In defence of RIM, the looters were going to do this with or without BBM, it’s probably made certain things a little easier for them but blaming RIM is like blaming the people who made the bricks that were thrown. I couldn’t help noticing how many of those denouncing BBM and social networks for their role in recent events were the same who were singing their praises for their part in the Arab Spring uprisings. Double edged sword this newfangled technology…

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