The role of Bbm in the London riots

by Alix White

The  Blackberry has risen dramatically in popularity over recent years. It has become more available to the average person, when previously it remained in the domain of those in the business sector. The phone has become extremely popular with teenagers. Actually branded by The Guardian as “the smartphone of choice for the majority (37%) of British teens”, possibly for features such as the Blackberry messenger (bbm). The use of this device caused problems in the recent riots in London. Many suspected that the secretive nature of Blackberry Messenger was causing the covert organisation of many of the riots to be kept out of police and public knowledge. It allowed plans to be kept between certain groups of individuals, and it was revealed that this was the way in which so many of the rioters were communicating.

Due to the messages sent over this device being undetectable by authorities it was virtually impossible for the police to be aware of what menacing was being planned. The idea of a ‘Big Brother society’ is actually one that sends shivers down my spine, and the decent hardworking individuals who stay away from criminal action should not be persecuted to a life of being watched and monitored from every angle, but this secretive messaging service was manipulated to encourage and organise criminal activity which caused scenes to take place in London which more resembled a middle-eastern warzone. There was talk of shutting the service down during the riots as there was a hysteria over just what was being communicated over this messaging service, and many condemned this as a step too far. However, I am unsure how this would have been too far, if it would have lessened the communication of the thugs in anyway, and improved safety then surely this would have been a more than justified step to take?

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