English cops arrest man for planning water-fight via Blackberry Messenger


61 Responses to “English cops arrest man for planning water-fight via Blackberry Messenger”

  1. MashTheStampede says:

    There is so much that inspires disgust here.   I don’t know what’s worse, treating a waterfight as a crime, or the spying on the Blackberry network.  Can this be the next “Nanny of the Month”?

    I like how the article tries to be sympathetic to the Parliament by mentioning that waterfights in Tehran attracted police attention and a few were arrested.  In Tehran, by the Morality Police.  Mere association with such fuddy-duddies should shame these British authorities into giving up the case.     

    • Daniel Barrett says:

      >> I like how the article tries to be sympathetic to the Parliament by
      mentioning that waterfights in Tehran attracted police attention and a
      few were arrested. 

      Hmmm…I have to say, I took it in an opposite way.  Seemed to me by mentioning Tehran and “morality police” the article was slyly drawing attention to the totalitarian aspects of it, not attempting to elicit sympathy.  If they were sympathetic, really, I don’t even think the article would exist.

  2. cdh1971 says:

    Blackberries can poke your eye out…and water-guns.

  3. Little John says:

    When water pistols are outlawed, only outlaws will have water pistols. Outlaws, and elementary-school children.

    Apparently, “water fights” represent a transgression of morality in Iran, and in the UK fall afoul of the Serious Crime Act. In the US, they used to be fun for kids on a hot summer day. Or do they lead to “encouraging or assisting in the commission of an offence” there, too?

    Serious WTF fumes making me woozy here.

  4. I point to the use of water pistols, I point to the impending Fall of Western Democracy.  That is all.

  5. Peter says:

    Let’s not underreact here.  Did you know that in a water fight, most common water pistols contain the chemical dihydrogen monoxide?  Even a small amount of this deadly chemical, if inhaled, can cause death.  In fact, while the research on ingestion isn’t conclusive, there are millions of cases every year involving suspicious deaths, in which dihydrogen monoxide was consumed in the previous 24 hours.

    It’s a public safety issue, nothing more!

  6. Travisimo says:

    Imagine a water pistol filled with gasoline and you have a flame thrower…

    /just sayin’

  7. atimoshenko says:

    Governments: if your citizens are publicly acting out (protests/riots/civil disobedience/etc), it is not your citizens who are at fault – it is YOU!

    You don’t try to make it more difficult to riot, you try to figure out and resolve the causes of the discontent.

  8. Colin Rosenthal says:

    You can have my water gun when you prise it from my cold, dead, wet and clammy hands.

  9. Marco Antonio Morales says:

    So… pillow fights are out of the question, eh?  :)

    —- As an aside -i’m trying to login with my BoingBoing account and it won’t let me… AND it won’t let me ‘reset my password’ (The e-mail could not be sent. Possible reason: your host may have disabled the mail() function…)

    // I know this is not the ideal place to put this, but I am unable to find any other way to get in touch with ‘support’… :o

  10. Any judge worth their salt should throw this out as soon as it gets to court.  Of course, the CPS will just pass it on without comment.

  11. labrys says:

    England, my green and somewhat soggy home – you make me despair

  12. Grumblefish says:

    This sounds utterly bloody silly.

    If the police are worried that previous water fights have got out of hand and resulted in a punch-up, or have been held in inappropriate places that caused large amounts of damage to the park (Leeds’ Milennium square garden was apparently severely damaged during a water fight), then surely the appropriate step is to contact the organisers and warn them of problems (don’t assume everyone there has shown up for the water fight, or holding it in x isn’t appropriate because of etc.) and that there will have to be a police presence in case things go over the top?

    If there is a valid reason for the apparent police over-reaction, why haven’t they said what it is?

  13. Osamabama says:

    “The prime minister said last week that the government would investigate whether social networking platforms should be shut down if they helped to “plot” crime in the wake of the riots.”I REALLY HOPE THEY DO THIS. People should socialize in the flesh, anyway. They can deal with a little more security, 2012 coming up and all. Shut down the networks!Brilliant ideas keep flowing in ol’ blighty. It really is so much free-er and democratic than the US.
    They should also BAN anything else that people may find fun to do, these are austere times and TOUGH MEASURES are needed. Work, and shut up. No fancy ideas about public fun and games,  or having a life worth living. CURFEW please!

  14. Yeah. It’s all ‘just a game and a bit of fun’.  Until someone gets WET. Then everyone is sorry.  But it’s too late then, isn’t it?

    Won’t someone please think of the children!!!!!!!!11

    • Jardine says:

      Oh. My. God. What if a child was wearing a white shirt!?! Then those clothes would get wet and it would be like a wet t-shirt contest with children! Someone stop these pedophilic monsters!!!11111

      • I can’t even bear to think about it, in case it lets the ‘evils’ in…..  must go for a lie down in a dark room…

      • This is why, next week, Cameron is going to announce the creation of a Morality Squad which will travel around the UK making sure people aren’t running afoul of proper local customs and the general established morality.  That way we can ensure no one sees or hears something they’re not supposed to.  Also, burqas for women and children.

  15. tiredofit says:

    what’s a water fight?

  16. Osamabama says:

    Basically a terrorist training exercise. If you use a water pistol, you might get ideas about upgrading to the real thing. Like gateway drug. 

    Stay tuned, it will only get more absurd as they get more desperate to cling onto their power, which is slipping between their grubby fingers. Must be all the blood, making things very slippery indeed.

  17. noah django says:

    is your google broken?

  18. phisrow says:

    ” (I’m not clear whether Blackberry has the capacity to decrypt and read messages, or whether the encryption is end-to-end.)”

    I’m not sure about BBM, more familiar with the email side; but I would suspect that BIS-provisioned devices(which are likely to be the overwhelming majority of consumer blackberries) are more or less an open book to RIM.

    BES-provisioned devices, on the other hand, are mostly going to be IT-provided suit gear; but most of the access powers would be with the BES admins of the organization in question.

    In either case, though, BBM messages are routed to the correct handset by means of the device-unique ‘Blackberry PIN’, and messaging is supported between Blackberries on different carriers, so RIM would have, in all probability, a timestamped log of what device contacted what other devices, and when(which the respective cell carriers, if the device was connected to a cell site at the time, could probably provide a location fix for) even if they do not have access to the contents of the message…

    • jwepurchase says:

      I would suspect that BIS-provisioned devices(which are likely to be the overwhelming majority of consumer blackberries) are more or less an open book to RIM.

      From the guardian article for the previous post:

      RIM has always struggled to explain to the authorities that, unlike most other companies, it technically cannot access or read the majority of the messages sent by users over its network.

      This is what made BBs attractive to businesses; corporate spies can’t easily get at your messages, including those that might be at RIM. Chasing Apple on the tablet front doesn’t help, but I’d guess compromising their ability to keep their clients secrets is what’s really undermining RIM’s market value.

      • bardfinn says:

        That is because the majority of BBM / BBE servers are run by the companies using them, and implemented as an extension to MSExchange. RIM can’t get to that content. The holder of the _NSAKEY for Windows can access that content.

        • dragonfrog says:

          Nope – BBM goes from the sender’s blackberry, to RIM’s infrastructure, where the PIN is mapped to a cellular connection, and then to the recipient’s blackberry.  It doesn’t matter if it’s a corporate blackberry or not.  In addition, the BBM messages are all “encrypted” with the same key, which RIM knows (they install it on every blackberry).  So in principle, they could intercept and decrypt ever BBM message, which is something the corporations deploying the blackberries can’t.

          I just learned this today… http://www.cse-cst.gc.ca/its-sti/publications/itsb-bsti/itsb57b-eng.html

          email is encrypted between BES and the blackberry, such that RIM can’t get at emails to or from corporate blackberries it crosses their infrastructure, which is probably what you’re thinking about.  BIS I don’t know about.

  19. justanothercynic says:

    I don’t want to live on this planet anymore.

  20. I’ll keep that in mind and use TOR when organising next pillow or snow fight.

    • Snow!!!!????  Are you insane!!???  It contains a frozen version of dihydrogen monoxide!!!11

      Do you have any idea how dangerous that stuff is?  No, didn’t think so.  

  21. Telegram Sam says:

    These water fights are a nuisance.  An innocent passerby gets caught in the middle of one, his matches get damp, and then he can’t set fire to a shop.

  22. rwmj says:

    This entire story (35 articles currently on Google News) derives from this odd press release by Essex Police.  You can read the original here:


    I’m interested to know (a) WTF Essex police and the CPS were thinking and (b) what is the actual story here.

  23. Blaze Curry says:

    What’s next? arresting people for protesting by going to public places and doing ordinary things?

  24. Mark Cresswell says:

    Cory, has it not ocurred to you that the law-abiding public might be sick and tired of public unrest on the streets right now? If the Police have information suggesting any form of unrest (even an innocent sounding water fight) might escalate – given the current tinder-box of community relations, then it is their duty to intervene for the sake of public order and safety. You admit that *most* water fights have remained peaceful – is it really worth the risk in the current climate to allow people to behave like immature dicks when the bodies of victims killed in the recent unrest have only just been buried? Your article is just another tiresome, thinly veiled and cynical attempt to have a dig at the Government.

    • That_Anonymous_Coward says:

      “You admit that *most* water fights have remained peaceful – is it really
      worth the risk in the current climate to allow people to behave like
      immature dicks when the bodies of victims killed in the recent unrest
      have only just been buried?”

      And the possibility that a water fight arranged as a simple fun action is not a covert action planning to restart the riots?
      That maybe some young people wanted to show that not every young person is an evil dick looter?

      “If the Police have information suggesting any form of unrest (even an innocent sounding water fight) might escalate”

      People shopping in the same market can lead to violence, is your answer to only allow people in 1 at a time?  But then you have multiple people in the queue, and violence can break out there.
      Shall we just confine everyone to a single room where they never interact with anyone again ever?

      If you escalate the responses to everything for “the sake of the peace”, you end up having less peace.

      Knowing the time and place of the water fight, they could have made their presence known and that should have kept any hooligans inline.  To burst into his home and arrest him for the simple act of arranging a fun event… they do that in China and other dictatorships… is that the kind of country you want to live in?

    • putty says:

      Cory, has it not occurred to you that the law-abiding public might be sick and tired of public unrest on the streets right now?

      I dunno Mark.  Do you think the law-abiding public might be sick and tired of Police spying on their private communications and bullying citizens with trumped up charges and zero evidence of any actual crime?

  25. Ken Law says:

    You know, I sometimes use a water gun in my classrooms to inspire my students to higher levels of thought.  Boy, I hope I’m not going to get arrested too.

  26. Church says:

    We just got four inches of water in the past 24 hours. When will the government do something about this threat from the sky?!

  27. HubrisSonic says:

    I hear its a new life in the off world colonies!

  28. I feel like I’m missing something here. Are water fights illegal in England?

    • laurencerowe says:

      Are they a growing menace? We must be told! http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/statistics_on_serious_crimes_inv

  29. Paool says:

    Lets see…where’s my copy of ‘Common Sense’…..

  30. Kimmo says:

    I can’t help feeling like England is living some sort of grim alternate history straight out of cautionary fiction.

  31. bardfinn says:

    RIM’s messaging is encrypted from client to server and from server to client. The administration of the servers has always had access to the contents of messages – this fact is central to why Karl Rove / Cheney et al. have been sued for using GOP-owned blackberrys and blackberry servers to run executive branch communications — in that the comms were not secured to DOD standards and surprise surprise surprise (Gomer Pyle voice) all the hard drives were “mistakenly” wiped / lost / destroyed once an investigation began.

  32. jphilby says:

    So much about the UK to admire, too bad it’s been saddled with a shitty government for about the same length of time as the US. I like to find time to enjoy their increasing panic about the outcomes of their incompetence. Somehow they came to believe that the public exists to support them. As that support fades, their view of reality is filling with yellow spots.

    • Mark Cresswell says:

      It makes you wonder what on earth the previous Labour Government did between 1997 and 2010 when they were in a position to deal with the underlying cause of the recent riots? Or are you suggesting that two generations of people in our society can be so damaged in just 12 months? Do you honestly think the current government are so efficient and powerful that they can dismantle over a decade of Labour’s ‘legacy’ in a year??

      • Little Mouse says:

        The problem is that both Labour and the Tories are as bad as each other and they build on each others previous bad decisions. Labour apparently can’t budget their way out of a wet paper bag, bloat up with unnecessary departments and get busy with stupid extremes of legislation that cost excessive amounts of money. When everyone is sick of that the Tories come in, bitch about everything Labour has done “just because” (whether some of it was good or not), then get to work trying to balance the books with heavy-handed cuts, no empathy to the poorer members of society that hits the most, and set up their own raft of crappy legislation. After that we go back to Labour because the general public remembers things being easier under them and the cycle continues.

        In the case of the latest riots and this stupid arrest for arranging a water fight, I suspect Labour would be doing exactly the same as the Tories right now – Making an overblown declaration of intent they have no hope of fully upholding that just ends up pissing off a lot of people. I don’t think the government is seriously considering censorship, I think they’re just trying to appear to be doing something until a few weeks pass and the media attention gets focused elsewhere. 

  33. Time to reread “It Can’t Happen Here” by Sinclair Lewis, especially in light of Dick Perry stepping up to run for President.

  34. jenjen says:

    I wonder what would happen if people used their Blackberrys to organize a mass photo shoot on public property. 

  35. andygates says:

    I’m sorry, I can’t post coherently for the spluttering rage I seem to have discovered. A WATER FIGHT? really? I really pay my taxes to snoop on legal things?  Oh and RIM, you great big subbie sluts, you.  I am disappoint.

  36. That_Anonymous_Coward says:

    And so it begins to get worse…


    Lets evict the entire family of someone who was charged with rioting.

    Someone mentioned this elsewhere….
    You know, V for Vendetta… it was a documentary.

  37. travtastic says:

    I’m planning a silly pillow fight tomorrow, if anyone’s interested.

    BYOP, and dress for fun!

    P.S. no cops allowed!

  38. stephenl123 says:

    Keep in mind that Nick Clegg and the Liberal Democrats are every bit as responsible for this as the Tories.  They joined a coalition to put the hard right in power in exchange for something they never got.  And yet they stay in the coalition.  So what do they want?  What do they expect?  Have the Lib Dems basically purged enough progressives that members who remain now put up with this nonsense?

  39. stephenl123 says:

    Here we have Nick Clegg saying the riots mean we should cut social welfare, stigmatize the poor and advance irrational zero tolerance policies across the board:

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