David Cameron's net-censorship proposal earns kudos from Chinese state media

UK prime minister David Cameron (who is reported to have rioted himself and then fled police while at university) has proposed a regime of state censorship for social media to prevent people from passing on messages that incite violence. This proposal has been warmly received by Chinese state media and bureaucrats, who are glad to see that Western governments are finally coming around to their style of management.
The British Government’s wariness of the Internet and Blackberry Messenger – symbols of freedom of speech – is a forced reaction, which might upset the Western world. Meanwhile, the open discussion of containment of the Internet in Britain has given rise to a new opportunity for the whole world. Media in the US and Britain used to criticize developing countries for curbing freedom of speech. Britain’s new attitude will help appease the quarrels between East and West over the future management of the Internet.

As for China, advocates of an unlimited development of the Internet should think twice about their original ideas.

On the Internet, there is no lack of posts and articles that incite public violence. They will cause tremendous damage once they are tweeted without control. At that time, all governments will have no other choice but to close down these websites and arrest those agitators.

Riots lead to rethink of Internet freedom (Thanks, Juha!)

(Image: General Chu Teh, a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from thomasfisherlibrary's photostream and David Cameron - World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2011, a Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike (2.0) image from worldeconomicforum's photostream)


  1. “With our combined strength Mr. Cameron, we can end this destructive conflict, and bring order to the Interwebs!”

  2. I think we can all agree that this will bring an end to all violence and make everyone walk perfectly in line…

    1. yes. Now all that is left to do is tap everyone’s phones in order to end poverty and famine around the world.

  3. If the (Internet) incitement of violence successfully incites mass violence, then there is some actual underlying cause or grievance at work as well. If someone tweets me to join up to kill my neighbour and burn the corner store, it’s not as if I am going to do it…

    When mass violence happens, incitement is the final straw, not the root cause.

    1. 17 year old in trouble for using Facebook to make a political point that is likely shared by the better part of the country: “I think we should start rioting, it’s about time we stopped the authorities pushing us about and ruining this country. It’s about time we stood up for ourselves for once. So come on rioters – get some. LOL.”

      He claims he was joking. He says that’s why he ended it “LOL.” However, rather than giving him a job as a political pundit and astute observer of the national mood, he was sentenced as a bad teen.

      I’m not saying any of us have lost any faith in any of our corrupt institutions throughout his life, or that mass protests against the gutting of civilisation by the feral super-rich is a necessary step to reassert popular democracy. I’m just drawing your attention to a news article. It is not an incitement to think or do anything ;-)

      Is it cold in here?

  4. Finally something Britannia and China can agree upon, censorship of mass media for the good of society.

    Maybe Google won’t have any objection to filtering data per government request after all. 

  5. Cameron had my support right up to the point where he suggested this – come on, hardly the values of a free thinking society. Under Labour we had a desire for the state to control everything, Cameron promised to remove that ethos from the corridors of the civil service – keep to that plan and you’ll retain my vote Mr C.

  6. So… Cameron was a member of a university club of privileged kids who’d been to expensive private schools.  On one night out, a member of the group threw a plantpot which went through the window of the restaurant they were dining in. It’s not clear whether breaking the window was the intended consequence, the idiots tend to throw things at each other when drunk.
    The group ran away. Some were later arrested. Cameron was one of those who were not arrested.
    (the club is known for childish pranks that sometimes lead to damage, it’s also known for paying up for damage caused on a rowdy night out, unlike many other student clubs).
    It’s clear Cameron was a member of an obnoxious set of twats, somewhat akin to an elite frat-house.

    Help me out here, I’m struggling to see how this equates to a riot.

    1. Public Order Act 1986:

      Where 12 or more persons who are present together use or threaten unlawful violence for a common purpose and the conduct of them (taken together) is such as would cause a person of reasonable firmness present at the scene to fear for his personal safety, each of the persons using unlawful violence for the common purpose is guilty of riot.

      (It’s not mentioned how many of them there were, and it’s unlikely the Attorney General would ever approve prosecution of some upper-middle class kids but still…)

      1. soubriquet is correct and saying D Cameron rioted is idiotic  

        It’s unlikely any prosecutor would ever approve prosecution of some (insert any discriminated against group) for RIOT in the circumstances alleged (by unknown person who doesn’t claim to be present) that David Cameron was involved with because it would be ridiculous.  

        I haven’t yet seen anyone charged with a s.1 Riot form the huge dangerous damaging riots we’ve had lately.  There have been some some s.2 Violent Disorders, the less serious offence, but hopefully they will catch and charge some of the worst offenders  more robustly (i’m not holding my breath).

        You might want to read the CPS charging standards from http://www.cps.gov.uk/legal/p_to_r/public_order_offences/#Riot

        Charges under section 1 should only be used for the most serious cases usually linked to planned or spontaneous serious outbreaks of sustained violenceConduct which falls within the scope of this offence might have the one or more of the following characteristics:the normal forces of law and order have broken downdue to the intensity of the attacks on police and other civilian authorities normal access by emergency services is impeded by mob activitydue to the scale and ferocity of the disorder, severe disruption and fear is caused to members of the publicthe violence carries with it the potential for a significant impact upon a significant number of non-participants for a significant length of timeorganised or spontaneous large scale acts of violence on people and/or property

        1. So basically what you’re saying is that the law should be applied differently to different sets of people. Well, you must be just thrilled by a compliment from China.

          1. I was pointing out that discriminated against people would not be charged with riot in the circumstances it is alleged D Cameron was involved in.  I referred to the CPS charging standards that explain in what circumstances it is appropriate to charge the offence of Riot.I also mentioned that i thought worse offenders should be charged with more serious offences of public disorder.   i’m struggling to see where you’ve got the idea that i think the law should be applied differently to different sets of people or even what you mean by different sets of peopleThe law is applied to people’s actions, taking into account some of the circumstances in which their actions took place and the consequences of those actions. Two people who, for instance, both kill someone but in different contexts should not necessarily be treated the same way by the law.   i don’t think believing that has anything to do with being authoritarian or pro China

      2. By this definition it’s equally unlikely that the nobs’ behaviour constituted a riot.
        However, hang around outside most big football matches in britain, and you’ll see plenty of groups who fit your quoted description. I wouldn’t recommend that bit of research  though.

        Let’s be clear here. I think Cameron’s a tosser, I think the tailcoated twats of the bullingdon and its ilk need a sharp kick up the arse, and maybe a little enforced community service, on the grounds of their drunk and disorderly behaviour.
        What I’m objecting to here is the quoting of a baseless allegation, which smacks of the journalistic integrity of the Pyongyang Times. Ever read the Pyongyang Times? or Soviet era Pravda?
        Neither made any attempt whatsoever to align anything they ever wrote even remotely with the truth.
        If we’re to hope for free speech, then let us also hope for truth.
        If we’re to attack a person, then lt it be based on facts, not fabrications.

  7. Well I’m honestly surprised. Not by his proposal, but by the LACK of backlash. Where is it? When things like what he is threatening happen abroad, there’s a huge outcry! What on earth is going on? I hope the british public won’t sit idly by and let this happen.

    1. Not sure why you mention Obama there – the bill was conceived by and is being introduced by a Republican and a Lieberman.

      1. I only mention Obama because it’s his administration and, of course, he has the power of the veto.

        1. And he’s proven himself to be a Complete master of the legislative process and able to get Any bills he wants through both houses of Congress, and downright Ninja at blocking things he doesn’t like…

        2. It’s disingenuous to insinuate Obama is the one who wants to promote censorship when it’s not his idea.  You clearly like don’t him.  That, or you think not many people know who the current U.S. president is.

  8. God Damn it this is so annoying. 

    I lived in China for about a year, the Great Firewall is easily bypassed to get to the greater internet, and they put a shitload of effort and manpower into it. 

    Ignoring the fact that this would be contrary to the ECHR and the HRA (like the stupid proposed death penalty bill) it just WOULDN’T WORK. It’s so fucking frustrating that our politicians and media are wasting our time considering this bullshit when even if they introduced (which they won’t be able to) it wouldn’t have any fucking effect except, in their wildest dreams, to provide the mild annoyance that the Great Firewall does. 

  9. Sweden’s foreign minister, Carl Bildt, commented on Twitter: “Well, I fear David Cameron got it somewhat wrong on netfreedom. Applause from Beijing is hardly flattering.”

  10. This is my favorite kind of publicity, like that time the KKK made a point on their website to say that they weren’t affiliated with the Westboro Baptist Church.


  11. I always thought that the net was a form of freedom of information and speech ,while the people who call for more violence should be(and rightly so) traced and punished ,to put in place a blanket ban is a total infringement of the human rights of the majority .Mr Cameron climb from under your shell you sad little man and do something for the people of this country YOU are one step away from repression   
    So what is the point of our troupes fighting abroad when you can bring them home and fight on the streets of Briton ,you are creating unrest within society with the policies of your government,poverty,hunger ,higher fuel bills at times when fuel prices are falling /fallen to their lowest in years,VAT on petrol extortionate levels .We as a Nation paid for the bailing out of the banks and we as a Nation got bugger all back from the banks or the government ,we are still paying .At a time when as a nation we are asked to contribute to the funding of terrorism in African countries through starvation of their own people ,we supply funding which in the form of millions of pounds ends up in the hands of the very people who created the famine through WAR or food aid which ends up in the hands of the fighting armies .Mr Cameron your country needs YOU! 
    The erosion of British society by successive governments with regard to lawlessness by the liberals of past regimes ,today’s young adults and children have no fear of authority ,none, they are aware of their rights as it has been drummed into them .You say it is the fault of parents ,You have taken away the rights of parents to chastise their children,they have no tools to work with. Police ,courts, they have no fear of these  they know it will be a slap on the wrist and “don’t do it again Johnny “. YOU Mr Cameron should bring back a sentence that means something to the” Johnny’s” of this country, one where if it means hard labour then it should be just that without any financial gain from society, ,make them fix the potholes in the roads ,clean out the roadside drainage ditches ,pick up litter on our city streets,help to build community parks and if it rains then let it rain. The criminals have got it far to soft and we all know this but we are too polite to speak up!
    If you want to do something for your country Mr Cameron then YOU NEED TO GET UP OFF YOUR ASS and SHOW THE PEOPLE OF BRITON WHAT YOU CAN DO FOR THEM,…. THE MAJORITY!

  12. Multinational fascism likes what it sees in China, and is bringing it to a country near you as we speak.  Don’t get to comfortable speaking, freely, as that is about to be history, thanks to the wonderful world of profit at all costs Fascism.

  13. Hmm…Measures that scratch at the surface of the problem and forget (or dismiss) the underlying issues that have lead to this situation? Wow, the politicians of some ‘developed’ countries are starting to sound like the ones we have here in Argentina!
    Not that these decision-makers would ask for our advice, but ladies and gentlemen, putting a tight lid on a boiling pot is not, I repeat, not a good idea (unless you’re a fan of big damaging explosions).

    1. Isn’t the big damaging explosion that just happened a result of similar tight lid measures?

      1. Probably, and that’s my point. I’m not well versed in international politics and I confess I haven’t paid much attention to the social unrest in England (we have our own down here), but all it takes is common sense to know that repression can only be a temporary solution – if the underlying problem is not solved, the next explosion will be worse.

  14. I would say “people who act like this deserve no such freedoms,” but then that’s extremely unfair to those who remain within the confines on justice. There has to be another way.

  15. James Griffiths comment is spot on- after the Super Injunction farce showed how we can’t control or filter the internet, Cameron’s back on the boat to try and filter/track our communications to use for legal purposes! 
    This isn’t “big society” thinking as Cameron is so keen on- we’re reacting to people discussing crimes, rather than acting to prevent the cause of crimes- waste of tax payer’s money to even think about- come on UK, I want to be proud of being a member of this nation again!

  16. state censorship for social media to prevent people from passing on messages that incite violence.

    And how would that work, exactly, from a technical standpoint?  Are they thinking that if they filtered all messages with certain words like “riot”, it would be impossible for anyone to riot again?  Because surely no group of underclass Londoners has ever heard of the concept of coded language.

    Or has some snake-oil salesman convinced Cameron that he’s got a magical, vaporous software solution that can interpret the meaning behind all of Britain’s SMS messages in real time? 

    From a political standpoint, this is abominable in chilling ways.
    But from a technical standpoint, it’s only abominable in hilarious ways.

  17. To all those cowardly, craven fools tut-tutting the riots:
    What exactly should people do in a society so severely fucked? When the population of rioters is so criminally oppressed, constantly surveilled, frequently stopped and searched, with no job opportunities, with austerity measures breathing down their necks, threatening total impoverishment with no way to dig yourself out, with these same fascistic forces not just waging war against the poor but waging war on the planet itself? What are these people supposed to do, when their government and institutions are so fully aligned with the interests of the rich? When they’re never heard from on television, when they have no impact on their government, when they have no voice, no future, no options? When the people are without representation, when protests are met with kettling and beatings and suppression, how can you judge the rioters harshly for striking back violently at the society that oppresses them?Fuck, I’d still support the riots if it were armed rebellion against the government. The rich have earned the resistance of the people– they’ve been waging class war for millennia, and have recently really stepped up their violent assault on human rights. Fuck them, and fuck anyone who’d give up liberty and justice for the sake of feeling safe. Nothing but fascists and cowards, and you’d hear the same sort of fear-mongering and calls for violence against the protestors if they were politically organized and were more functionally obstructing the interests of the ruling class. After generations of political suppression, is it any wonder that looting is about the most they can muster? I’ll not fault them for it. Britain is a sham, morally bankrupt and on the verge of a collapse that is righteously deserved!

    Let’s note the families being kicked from their homes because they have family members accused of being involved in rioting, not even convicted! That is the act of tyranny. That is the act of a government without legitimacy, an act of the enemy of the people. And all you sitting here so concerned for law and order when your nation has become a mockery of democracy, a fascist state no more legitimate than the governments of Franco or Mussolini, and no more free or decent. You should be ashamed of yourselves. You should be out there protesting your government, you chicken-shits, too scared to do what’s right. Your system is EVIL, and you can’t even see it you’re so afraid of losing your tiny piece of it, in your frantic scrabbling and supplication to almighty Mammon. WAKE UP! Your economy will not survive the next two decades. And what then? What will you do? Will you cringe and cower before your masters and implore them to protect you against ‘the others’? Will you snitch on your neighbors? Your friends? How much fascism is enough? How much tyranny will you stand before you tell them to stop? How much suffering will you inflict on this world in your obsequious, cowardly desire to maintain a status quo long past its usefulness? All I ask is that you take ONE TINY LOOK from a vantage point outside your insignificant little lives and look at the big picture. ONE LOOK. 

    George Orwell would be organizing rioters this very second, educating them, teaching them how to really strike at the heart of a rotten system, not just burn shops and overturn cars in an act of impotent rage. Why are you too cowardly to do the same?

    1. Gotta be careful with throwing around all encompassing words like “the rich.” It’s unfair to label a whole group of people in such a way and it causes class warfare in the opposite direction. It’s become very popular recently here in the States and is getting pretty scarey. People who are uneducated about todays politics are quick to say that all the problems are “corporations and the rich.” I’m not saying all members of these groups are innocent, but to label all in this way is equally damaging. To put it simply, be careful not to let your emotions get the better of you. Its hard with things like this going on, but be mindful.

  18. Uriah, you’re not wrong.

    Would you be surprised to learn that undercover cops were initiating breaking windows and setting fires to kick things off? I wouldn’t. And just about every fact that has appeared in the Mark Duggan shooting has changed fifteen or so times until the story has become it’s opposite, just like Menezies. People will only remember the first headline they heard “Gangster shot dead after firing upon police”

    But remember, we need every bit of repressive legislation that’s coming our way. It’s for the greater good.

    1. And has anyone noticed the acronym for the War On Gangs yet? Accidental?

      Judge Dredd’s comin home!

  19. I thought that was pretty well composed, thanks. 

    Still, you’re right, I should not say things like that where I can be easily tracked, since our democratically elected government might decide to come knocking. Even mild support for regime change in a western nation is tantamount to terrorism these days, no sense getting myself locked up and tortured by hardworking patriots by exercising my rights. Egypt is one thing, but Britain? Oh hell no. Not that Mubarak was that much worse, really, but messing with Britain interferes with the interests of bankers and is therefore sacrosanct. 

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