Following the recent riots that took place in cities across the United Kingdom, David Cameron proposed restrictions on social media use, during any further incidences of civil unrest. This suggestion met with disagreement from the chief executive of Google, Eric Schmidt.
Speaking recently at the MediaGuardian Edinburgh International Television Festival, Schmidt said that restricting access to social media could inflame the situation. He cited the civil unrest in Egypt earlier in the year, as authorities turned off the Internet in an attempt to calm the situation. However, civilians were furious at this infringement and left the comfort of their homes to make a protest.
Schmidt admitted that he considered the proposal to be a mistake, and rather than stopping the use of social media the authorities could employ the networks to understand why the riots occurred in the first place. However, it would appear that the government have decided against any restrictions on social media, as social media networks were asked to a meeting with Theresa May, home secretary. May assured the networks Twitter, Facebook and Research in Motion that measures to restrict the use of social networking sites would not take place and the meeting was to discuss improved methods of enforcing the law online.
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