One of the more disturbing trends from the England riots is the desire to shut down cell service and social networking sites to "keep criminals from using them."
It's not just "criminals" that might be using such sites in the event of a riot, emergency, whatever - it's all of us. The use of a cell phone to call for help is pretty obvious, not to mention tracking down loved ones in an emergency. And the importance of safety information passed through facebook is something I discussed in my post Social Networking - Lessons from the Slave Lake Fire.
It's ridiculous to turn off those sites and block cell service. It can have dangerous consequences for people that rely on it and it's ham-handed, totalitarian bullshit - and the kind of thing western governments criticize China and middle eastern countries for doing. We have a friend that lives in London, it was extremely reassuring to be able to contact her on FB and get updates.
San Francisco is already doing it, it was rather ironic to read one of the press releases where the police spokesman was encouraging BART riders to CALL FOR HELP if they had trouble with protesters. I guess there are some call boxes on the trains? Something?
I'm going to write a little more on the London riots at some point but it may be on my other blog.