Following the havoc wreaked by the London riots, a 20-year-old man from Colchester, England, was arrested for allegedly organizing a giant water gun fight via the BlackBerry Messenger service and Facebook.
Water gun fights are nothing new in England; according to the Guardian, summertime H2O shootouts — organized online — were a popular pastime in 2008. But the man in question chose a poor time and tool to plan his aqua attack. The UK is on high alert after the riots that broke out following the police shooting of Mark Duggan, a resident of the Tottenham area of north London. BBM was the communication method of choice during the riots.
A police spokesman declined to comment on whether not police were monitoring BMM service, telling the Guardian: “Essex police use appropriate measures for whatever the crime and wherever our investigations lead us.”
The UK Government has been investigating what role tech and social media played in organizing the riots. On Friday, the UK government announced it would be holding talks with Facebook and RIM. Previously, Prime Minister David Cameron told Parliament that the government is examining whether it is possible to prevent suspected criminals from sending messages via social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook.
The notion obviously ruffled the feathers of free speech advocates, who look upon the proposed move as a form of serious censorship. This most recent arrest is also sure to raise ire among those watching Britain for signs of overreaction.