A few short years ago, if a riot broke out somewhere in the world, you found out about it the next morning when your newspaper was delivered, or on the 6 o'clock news. Nowadays, news spreads at the click of a button, with millions of smartphones connected to Twitter and Facebook. Riots in Vancouver less than two months ago were seen almost instantly through pictures and videos as people used smartphones to record what they saw and upload to social networking. As a result, police were able to apprehend many people who were involved in the looting and destruction.
This weekend rioting again broke out, this time in London. Stemming from a peaceful protest over the shooting of a man named Mark Duggan, things quickly escalated and the gathering erupted into violence. As seen in Vancouver, the destruction and looting was spread across social media and in moments the whole world knew what was happening, including pictures of the people responsible.
This time around, however, the gangs of rioters found that using BlackBerry Messenger was a fast and easy way to communicate with like minded individuals, quickly organizing pockets of riots. Because BBM messages are encrypted, and require an exchange of PIN numbers, they are private - unlike Twitter or Facebook.
Research In Motion has agreed to work with law officials in London to help catch people who were instigators in the riots.
“As in all markets around the world where BlackBerry is available, we co-operate with local telecommunications operators, law enforcement and regulatory officials,” said Patrick Spence, RIM’s managing director of global sales.
“Similar to other technology providers in the UK we comply with the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act and co-operate fully with the Home Office and UK police forces.”
With luck the responsible parties will be brought to justice soon, and London can begin rebuilding. Thanks to everyone that sent in tips regarding this.