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Teenager charged with using BBM to incite riot

One of the first
Fri Aug 12 2011, 17:25

A TEENAGER has become among the first to be charged with using the Blackberry messaging (BBM) service to encourage others to take part in a riot.

According to the Telegraph, the Essex 18-year-old has been accused of "intentionally encouraging or assisting in the commission of an offence under the Serious Crime Act 2007".

The BBM message allegedly sent on Monday 8 August encouraged friends to emulate violence and looting spreading across the UK. The unnamed teenager has been bailed and will appear at Colchester Magistrates' Court on 1 September.

Her case is among the first in which police have specifically cited BBM. A 27-year-old man from Southampton was also charged with inciting violence on the Blackberry messaging service yesterday.

Yesterday, The INQUIRER reported that UK Prime Minister David Cameron wants to ban would-be miscreants from using the Blackberry messaging service BBM, Twitter and Facebook in the wake of this week's rioting.

Cameron said in a Commons debate that the Government is looking at whether it's possible to stop suspected rioters from spreading their messages online.

Home Secretary Theresa May will hold meetings with the Blackberry maker Research in Motion (RIM), Twitter and Facebook to discuss their responsibilities.

The Prime Minister, who was sunning himself in Italy during much of the rioting, said, "Everyone watching these horrific actions will be stuck by how they were organised via social media. Free flow of information can be used for good. But it can also be used for ill."

Any move to ban social networks would mark a huge shift in Britain's internet policy. Also yesterday, hacktavist group Anonymous issued a thinly veiled threat to the Government about its proposed plans to shut down social networking during times of social unrest.

"UK prime minister David Cameron is calling for restrictions on internet usage (especially social networks). We're watching this situation", said the AnonymousIRC Twitter feed.

On Monday, RIM said it would help investigators "in any way we can". µ


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