As word of Mark Duggan's controversial death spread over BlackBerry Messenger and various social networking sites, civil unrest ensued with violent riots breaking out in the streets of London and other British cities.
BlackBerry maker RIM, a company revered for keeping user correspondence private, has since taken a proactive stance and decided to help UK authorities.
Interestingly enough, RIM traditionally denies nations easy access to its network for policing purposes, leading many to call BlackBerry Messenger by its unofficial nickname: "the shadow social network."
Although the company refused to give countries like Saudi Arabia and India access for monitoring communications on a day-to-day basis, it does routinely "cooperate with local telecommunications operators, law enforcement and regulatory officials."
"We feel for those impacted by the riots in London," RIM managing director Patrick Spence told The Guardian.
"We have engaged with the authorities to assist in any way we can."
RIM has been under pressure since the riots began, taking flack for BBM, which was linked to lines of communications between rioters.
One youth worker told The London Times, "People have been talking on BBM all day deciding where they'd go next. They said Peckham would take the next hit. The stuff in Brixton, people used BBM to organize where to meet."
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..
- Knowledge is Power . . . . .
The site has since been taken offline.
Although BBM was blamed by some for the spread of the riots, many journalists and analysts disagree with such claims, explaining that BlackBerry is simply another form of communication like Twitter, Facebook, email or a smartphone.
"Certainly, it's a lot easier for people to communicate with each other in real time via some of these services but that's a fact of life," Ian Maude, an analyst at Enders, told the Wall Street Journal.
"They're [obviously] not good or evil in themselves, it's [simply] the purposes for which people use them."