Robert Mackey reports:
In a demonstration of the kind of zero-tolerance policing of modern criminality that will no doubt impress Iran’s morals police as much as Egypt’s military rulers, officers outside London announced on Monday that they had arrested a man for sending text messages encouraging people to take part in a mass water fight.
Last week, after reports that rioters had communicated over social networks and BlackBerry’s encrypted messaging service, Prime Minister David Cameron said at an emergency session of Parliament, “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 Web sites and services when we know they are plotting violence, disorder and criminality.
On Monday, Vikram Dodd, Richard Norton-Taylor and Josh Halliday reported for The Guardian that MI5, Britain’s domestic security service, and the intelligence agency known as Government Communications Headquarters, which intercepts and decodes communications, have been drafted in “the effort to catch people who used social messaging, especially BlackBerry Messenger,” to organize looting.
The crackdown in England comes as Egypt’s interim military government continues to prosecute bloggers on charges of insulting the army on Facebook and Twitter. On Sunday, the Cairo daily Al Masry Al Youm reported, a 26-year-old activist was forced to pay more than $3,000 in bail after being summoned by a military prosecutor on charges of insulting the army.
Earlier this month, authorities in two Iranian cities made several arrests as they broke up two mass water fights that had been organized on Facebook.