David Cameron hints at social networking ban for rioters

The riots that spread across England over the last few days were caused by the yoof innit. And what do the yoof use to communicate with each other? They use BBM, Twitter, Facebook and the other social networks innit.

That's the impression of Prime Minister David Cameron at least, who has told MPs that the government is looking at banning people from using social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook if they are thought to be using them to plan criminal activity.

"Everyone watching these horrific actions will be struck by how they were organised via social media," said the PM. "Free flow of information can be used for good. But it can also be used for ill.

"And when people are using social media for violence we need to stop them. So we are working with the police, the intelligence services and industry to look at whether it would be right to stop people communicating via these websites and services when we know they are plotting violence, disorder and criminality," he continued.

"I have also asked the police if they need any other new powers. Police were facing a new circumstance where rioters were using the BlackBerry Messenger service, a closed network, to organise riots. We've got to examine that and work out how to get ahead of them."

Cameron said the home secretary, Theresa May, will hold meetings with Facebook, Twitter and Research In Motion "within weeks".

We're not exactly sure how the police could ban people from using social networking sites that don't come under UK jurisdiction, as well as preventing individuals from making up any number of accounts, run from any number of IP addresses, or employing mobile phone numbers - including unregistered PAYG devices.

We can see where Dave (we're old muckers) is coming from, but the web is a massive grey area when it comes to freedom and rights. A ban on any site, for whatever reason, is surely going to test the boundaries of net-neutrality and question the webs fundamental ethos of openness.

Not least that any such move is unlikely to have any positive affect on civil unrest, rather stoke it further.