back to article Tottenham MP calls for BlackBerry Messenging suspension

Tottenham MP David Lammy has called on RIM to shut down its BlackBerry Messenger service overnight, to prevent rioters using the closed network to coordinate gatherings. Speaking on 5Live, Lammy claimed that the messaging service was "one of reasons why unsophisticated criminals are outfoxing an otherwise sophisticated police …


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  1. Anonymous Coward


    Perhaps the Police should start a bonfire somewhere quiet, fly up a helicopter, interrupt the twitter and BBM feeds with directions, then just round them up.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Shutting down mobile services

    Worked so well in Egypt...

    Very slippery slope, and I'd have hoped an MP would know better... 1984 should be a warning not a guide book!

    1. Richard Taylor 2

      and I have to say

      why would you expect any MP to know better? Bears of very little braun yo kno

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      A few years ago..

      I did wonder what would be the cost of sending a copy of 1984 to every MP and Lord in westminister, with a covering letter saying something along the lines of "Dont do this!".

      However, we decided that it would only give them ideas.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        It's been done...

        "I did wonder what would be the cost of sending a copy of 1984 to every MP and Lord in westminister, with a covering letter saying something along the lines of "Dont do this!"."

        Cost was large(ish), but plenty of donaters made it easier, and it wasn't sent to all, just the cabinet members. The message written in each was "This book was intended as a warning, not as an instruction manual." It was supposed to arrive on the anniversary of the books first publication, but Amazon were far too efficient and delivered them all a day early.

        It was never reported in the mainstream media.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Big Brother

          reported here

          I didn't know that. But yep, it was done by the Libertarian party and reported here:

  3. Tom 15


    Am I the only one that doesn't get what that would achieve? They'll just switched to text messages, or obscure forums, or something similar.

    1. Chad H.
      Thumb Up

      Or heaven forbid - actually talking to each other

      In other news a tottenham MP has called for any oral vocalisations to be banned.

  4. SuperTim

    What a spanner.

    Is this guy for real?

  5. Rob Crawford
    Black Helicopters

    Yet another cabbage in Westminister

    What doesn't he realise that they're smart phones and therefore have access to the vast majority of message services on the internet.

    Close BBM and they just move to something else?

    All it will do is annoy the normal users (if such a thing exists in the teenage universe)

    Then again maybe that's their inroad to blocking sections of the internet whenever they take a dislike to a particular aspect.

    Where's my tinfoil hat

  6. JasonW

    Sure shut down one service...

    ... and they'll all move to another. Really it's a sticking plaster over a gaping wound. Doing something (ineffective) for the sake of doing something (at all).

    1. The Cube

      You are seriously overestimating

      How intelligent the thieving chavscum are.

      "Can it has facebook?" Is the extent of their technical knowledge when they aren't saying "wot, does you want fries with that?".

      The point is that BBM is a very easy and convenient method for some thicko scum to organise trouble. They are not organised enough to move to other platforms, as soon as you increase the level of effort or skills beyond "Ug" they are out of the game.

  7. Captain Scarlet Silver badge

    That won't work

    You have other ways of conferencing for free such as Skype, all that will happen is they will move to another platform.

    knee jerk reactions like this won't help

  8. Is it me?


    You could shut down mobile phones altogether, emergency powers exist to do this, and it could be done for relatively small areas in London, as was done with 7/7.

    However that would also prevent sophisticated Police officers using their BBM services.

    Never listen to MPs when they make statements on technology, very few of them understand how it works, or who uses it.

    1. Graham Marsden

      that would also prevent...

      ... people from oh, I don't know, calling the Police or Fire Brigade or Ambulance Service...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Police phones have different SIMs, so they don't stop working when the mobile networks are stopped.

      (Although that's the theory, as some of them did stop working at 7/7, but that's supposed to be sorted out now.)

      1. Graham Marsden

        "Police phones have different SIMs"

        Right, so if I'm in an area where ordinary mobile phones have been shut down, all I have to do if I need to call the Police is find a Policeman and borrow his phone...

        1. Anonymous Coward


 an emergency you send a message to the services? Personally I'd phone them.

          Hint in the Title of the Article.

          1. Graham Marsden

            Re: " an emergency you send a message to the services?"

            I don't know who you're addressing that too, but I'd point out that I was responding to a comment that "You could shut down mobile phones altogether".

  9. Owen Carter
    Big Brother


    Yippee; I'm so glad we have these geniuses in charge, this will work! just like it did 20 years ago; err.. hang on.

    Hint for Mr Lammy: people network, socially. Always have done, always will. Just like he did to get where he is today.

  10. Pete 2 Silver badge

    Arab spring?

    So hands up who's going to say "but this is completely different" when they are reminded how universal was the protestations when certain other countries suspended mobile phone (and internet) comminucatiosn during their "local difficulties" only a few months ago?

    1. ph0b0s

      Love how...

      the social media networks were the toast of the town when the Arab spring happened. The same people soon change their tune when the technology is used here. It's a double edged sword. It can be used by these criminals just as well as legitimate protesters.

      But of course this idea is completely goes over the heads of MP's, who want to have their cake and eat it. They want a system that allows unfettered freedom of speak; and then the ability to censor it when people say stuff they don't like. Hello? Knock knock anyone in there, anything between those ears?

      How about looking at the underlying reasons people are using the technology for no good rather than just removing the technology. That just solves the symptom rather than the disease....

  11. Anonymous Coward 101
    Thumb Down

    This is what is called placebo politics

    It is unverified that rioters are primarily using BBM to send messages to each other, but if they were, so what? To communicate, rioters can use internet chat forums, twitter, email, phone calls, face to face chat, regular text messages, etc etc. BBM is just another medium, albeit a convenient one. I am not doctrinaire about this - if there was a real problem that could be averted by stopping BBM, then do it. But this is nonsense.

    David Lammy is a twat.

    1. philbo


      Absolutely.. Something must be done!

      This is something.

      Therefore it must be done.

      (but I think you're being a bit kind about David Lammy)

  12. Anonymous Coward

    apparently on

    "Dear Rim;

    You Will _NOT_ assist the UK Police because if u do innocent members of the public who were at the wrong place at the wrong time and owned a blackberry will get charged for no reason at all, the Police are looking to arrest as many people as possible to save themselves from embarrassment…. if you do assist the police by giving them chat logs, gps locations, customer information & access to peoples BlackBerryMessengers you will regret it, we have access to your database which includes your employees information; e.g – Addresses, Names, Phone Numbers etc. – now if u assist the police, we _WILL_ make this information public and pass it onto rioters…. do you really want a bunch of angry youths on your employees doorsteps? Think about it…. and don’t think that the police will protect your employees, the police can’t protect themselves let alone protect others….. if you make the wrong choice your database will be made public, save yourself the embarrassment and make the right choice. don’t be a puppet.."

    1. Anonymous Coward

      re: apparently on

      I forsee a criminal charge of blackmail in someones future.. and if they wanted to *ensure* that RIM co-operated with the Police they couldn't have done it better!

    2. Anonymous Coward


      I just reported it. I didn't say I *agreed* with it. It's a whole new scale of lame ....

  13. Anonymous Coward


    And how many blackberries does he think the typical profile of a rioter has?

    Admittedly, they probably have a lot more blackberry handsets *now*...

  14. Gerrit Hoekstra


    No grasp of reality, no grasp of technology. Must be a politician then.

    1. Snapper


      "No grasp of reality, no grasp of technology, no grasp of history and hard-won political freedoms, thinks it's 'his' democracy. Must be a Labour politician then."

      There, fixed it for you!

  15. Charlie Clark Silver badge

    Hear, here

    I call on the authorities and Channel 4 to dust off Brass Eye and slip it in as a replacement for the news and wonder if anyone will notice.

  16. Tom 38

    Insert title here

    Apparently BBM'ing is all the rage amongst the yoof, since it apparently doesn't cost data or voice allowance, so as long as you have 50p credit left on your phone, you can bbm for free as much as you like.

    I also like the quote from AC above - Dear RIM, please don't tell on us or innocent people will get hurt. If you're not falling for that, then we've already hacked you and we'll come riot at your home if you do. Oh, and we're still innocent.

  17. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    Ban trousers

    Closely following coverage of the riots I have noticed that the majority of these young miscreants are wearing trousers, and along with the infamous hoody, it seems that trousers have been a necessary component of every major riot and disturbance since the french revolution - with the exceptions of a few uppity scots and that unfortunate fracas at the transvestite ball.

    I call for the immediate banning of trousers in public and commend this idea to the house

    General D Mail-Reader (retd)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      The house.

      Unfortunately the rioters were throwing bricks which have also been banned and confiscated.

      Therefore the house will now be known as the Detritus of Parliament.

  18. Kevin 43

    Opportunistic censorship from Lord Mandys Lapdog.

    That is all.

  19. philbo

    I'd probably riot..

    ..if I had David Lammy as my MP.

    Listening to him on the radio, he had just the right tone of arrogant smugness that made me instinctively disagree with whatever it was he was saying..

  20. Anonymous Coward

    That's Tottenham that is..

    A steaming pile of Hotspur.

  21. Manta Bloke


    The youfs have more blackberries now after their shopping spree .

    I'll get my coat

  22. lawndart


    Sophisticated. A word that has its roots in sophistry.

    Although the general usage of the word has changed its meaning somewhat, the original definition of sophisticated is still valid. Always makes me grin when I hear someone say they are more sophisticated than someone else.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    He is totally right with this one

    Not usually a fan of this guy but he's correct in this case I think. Don't call him clueless when he does indeed know what he's talking about here:

    I'm a teacher in a London school in a poor area - the vast majority of kids don't use twitter or even have phone credit to message or phone, they just broadcast free messages to each other and whole lists of people using BBM. Yes it won't stop some teenagers using other ways to communicate - but for the majority it will indeed stop their main, free method that lets messages (like places to start fights after school) spread like wildfire.

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Um, BBM isn't free on PAYG

      AFAIK there's a monthly charge on all operators. They may have introductory offers to get you hooked on BBM, but in order to get a BlackBerry on PAYG you've just coughed up about 150 quid so that's hardly free either.

      As a teacher you should know the problem is a little more serious than them having access to BBM and school fights and looting happened before BBM was launched.

    2. Rob Crawford

      Oh Dear

      You seriously think that BBM should be closed for everybody in the country because of this?

      So the services my daughter pays for in another part of the UK should be withdrawn because of a few hundred thugs.

      What something exists outside of your backyard?

      Various businesses also use BBM to contact groups of staff (including those of us who cover essential services out of hours)

      So follow this advice,

      It's better to be quiet and thought a fool than to open your mouth and confirm that belief.

      Considering with the looters new found wealth they could afford the extra 50 pence per day for internet access to the likes of fring et al, which allows group message and private chat areas (there are literally 100s of such free services)

      How about cutting off data services in looting area cell towers and then the thugs can't contact each other and hopefully the rest of us will not have to listen to so many clueless individuals trying to inflict their crap solution on the whole of the UK.

      1. qwertyop

        Why the abuse?

        Do I think that the service that is now understood to be the main force of these teenagers mobilising should have been interrupted for a temporary period of about 12 hours? Yes. Prevention is better than cure. I'm not talking about banning the service, just a temporary fix! If it was adults it wouldn't make much difference, but it was mainly kids who in my experience do indeed use BBM for 99% of their digital communication.

        And in reply to the other poster - yes the parents of these kids usually do stump up the money for an expensive PAYG phone, there's a bizarre type of keeping up with the Joneses amongst parents in deprived areas to adorn their kids with new stuff to try to show they're not as poor as they are. Which is probably a contributing factor to all this but there we go

  24. Dan 55 Silver badge

    MP calls for What's App ban

    That'll be the headline by the end of this week.

    End of next week will be, oooh, I don't know, let's progressively work down this list...

    By the time we get to the end of the list in 53 weeks time there'll be no more looting. Ever.

  25. Anonymous Coward

    And he is an MP?

    Stop the world quick!

    And then the equation goes something like

    Cameron (UK) = Qadaffi (Libya) = Bashar al-Assad (Syria)


  26. James Dunmore

    because riots didn't happen before the internet

    Yep, it's modern tech's fault - let's just turn off the internet - big red button on the door of IP house.

    Okay - obviously phones/social networking had meant that the riots can be organised and spread from area to area quicker, but come on, surely the police have a similar technology to rely on to deploy cops?!

  27. Bruno de Florence


    In 1917, Lenine didn't have a Blackberry, an Android or an Iphone. Yet...

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