England's youths are angry and rioting. And, because it's 2011, they're using technology to organize. Well, as much as a violent mob can be organized. But British Prime Minister David Cameron wants to cut them off. He's very, very wrong.
And he's wrong for the exact same reason that the governments of Saudi Arabia and UAE were wrong a year ago. Cutting off the use of Twitter, Facebook, BBM, or any other digital means of discussion, is an infringement upon an entire society—not just the destructive malcontents. Cameron's plan—if you can even call it that—would target individuals suspected of riot plotting, and then block their access to BBM and social networks. Somehow. How do you discern who's organizing riots, and who's just retweeting? Do you kick them off of the entire internet? Are they allowed back on? The extent to which this makes little sense and is technologically dubious is representative of Cameron's reasoning here. We balk when a Middle Eastern autocrat threatens to shutter BBM, but when the Prime Minister of a sophisticated, liberal society proposes the same thing, the western world gives him a chance to explain himself. Surely, there must be some rationale! We oughtn't be so fair.