Opinion: #HandsOffTwitter

So, good news everyone – according to reports in the Guardian and others, the Home Office have decided that introducing legislation to allow the police to turn off access to Social Networks would be, ahem, inappropriate, and will instead work in cooperation with the networks going forward. To quote the Home Office after talks today

“The discussions looked at how law enforcement and the networks can build on the existing relationships and co-operation to prevent the networks being used for criminal behaviour”.

Good.

Of course, it should never have come to this in the first place. It seems lunacy just a few short months after David Cameron could say that that freedom of expression should be respected “in Tahrir Square as much as Trafalgar Square” that he could think it appropriate that he should be advocating the complete opposite (and end up being both mocked and praised for his efforts by a Chinese news agency).

But it’s another great example of why it’s so important that we play an active role in government.

If the Tories had won a majority in May 2010, moves like this would have continued unabated, and the Louise Mensch’s of this world would be given free reign to pursue policies just like these (ironically Louise chose to pursue her campaign on… Twitter. Oh, the irony).

It’s because we are acting as a brake, a conscience, a voice of reason, that we can stop this sort of extreme, knee jerk pursuit of a right wing agenda, and introduce fairer, more considered and (whisper it gently) liberal policies.

The Tories don’t like it, as this piece in The Evening Standard reveals. But it is what the country voted for, and so thank goodness for the wisdom of the masses.

The same masses who, thanks to Lib Dem intervention, will be free to express their opinion on Social Media without interruption.

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3 Comments

  • Kirsten de Keyser 25th Aug '11 - 8:19pm

    There is, of course, another problem with shutting down the networks which I’m sure is not lost on the powers that be. They wouldn’t be able to track suspects’ mobile phone activities for evidence after the event.

    Or am I being uncharitable?

  • There has been some good stuff now coming out of Lib Dem MP’s but they still shy away from directly criticising the Tories too much. It is not against the spirit of letter of the coalition agreement to point out where it is felt that the approach mooted by the Tories is authoritarian and wrong.

    The balance to be gained is showing that the police will be supported in their operational actions (where they keep within the law) but there will be no Orwellian response to disorder. If the former is missed any response will be portrayed by the right wing press as soft on the looters. The vast majority of us are law abiding citizens trying to make our way in this world and we need our rights AND our property protcted…

    This is an area where the difference is clear and this is therefore one area where lost voters can start to be convinced that from this point onwards it is true coalition and not a sell out….

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