Teen girl charged in UK’s first BlackBerry Messenger incitement case

Posted In Blackberry, Mobile Web - By Ryan On Friday, August 12th, 2011 With 0 Comments

The next round of London Riots madness has begun with the arrest of an 18-year-old girl, charged with encouraging others via BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) to participate in riots.

This is the first case to officially name the use of BBM in charges brought against someone involved in the riots. And although you’d be forgiven for thinking we’re in the middle of a George Orwell novel, this really is happening. We can’t help but wonder, then, if others who’ve organised riot activities via landlines will be charged with British Telecom incitement.

The teenager, whose identity has not yet been revealed, has had formal charges brought against her under the Serious Crime Act and will have to appear in court in September to answer for her role in ‘intentionally encouraging or assisting in the commission of an offence’. This action was taken after the girl allegedly contacted a group of her friends on BBM and encouraged them to join her in taking part in the riots that have spread like wildlife across the UK.

This move has left many people surprised but not entirely shocked, as British Prime Minister David Cameron had already mentioned in a statement this week that anyone using group messaging services, instant messengers or social networks to conduct any riot incitement could find themselves banned from the services in the near future. Cameron said, “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 websites and services when we know they are plotting violence, disorder and criminality.”

BlackBerry manufacturer Research In Motion (RIM) has played their part in the unhappy mess by assisting police to identify which BBM users have used the service to add fuel to the fire, so to speak, by inviting friends to jump on the violent bandwagon.

And so we’re left asking whether ‘coffee shop incitement’ cases will be brought against those planning evil deeds by speaking to groups of people in caf├ęs. Or if ‘human mouth incitement’ is a valid charge for those whipping up mischief without any technology involved in the act at all.

Tweets about the London Riots (#londonriots)

    About - With at least 20 phones tucked away in drawers around the house and office, Ryan is a buy-to-try mobile consumer and loves playing with new handsets. Right now he's stuck on the iPhone 4.

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