Colum Kenny: When smartphones and social media are neither very smart, nor very social
Cracking down on internet usage isn't the answer to the rioting, but old-fashioned policing is, writes Colum Kenny
A notorious gang boss stood on a corner in Manchester last week, talking into his mobile phone. Flanked by teenagers dressed in black, he was not ordering pizza. Police reportedly suspect that he was orchestrating riots and looting.
Just months after observers were celebrating the use of mobile phones and social media by 'Arab Spring' protesters, UK prime minister David Cameron has condemned their abuse by English rioters. Cameron told parliament last Thursday that, "Everyone watching these horrific actions will be struck by how they were organised via social media."
Even before these riots, so-called 'flash robs' by 'flash mobs' were already a problem for retailers in the Unites States. They happen when people gather quickly and rush a store, overwhelming security and stripping shelves of merchandise.