The UK seems to have a rather interesting relationship with Twitter for some reason. For the purposes of this discussion, recall that UK police have demanded the deletion of photos from the microblogging site before, in some attempt to have the internet forget certain things happened. Also, keep handy the knowledge that, in the UK, you can apparently be jailed for acting like a jackass on Twitter.
With that in mind, it’s ironic that acting like a jackass in government gets you a job as an MP. Such is the case, at least, with George Galloway, who is calling for a ban on Twitter nation-wide until the site agrees to fully cooperate with UK police in all of their many deluded demands.
Filing the motion named “Twitter and the detection of crime”, the MP believes the social-networking site should defer to UK authorities or be sanctioned by the Government – those sanctions involving a ban on the service.
“Twitter is now a very widely used mode of social networking; is a US-based enterprise whose primary motivation is to maximise its profits; Twitter is now used for a variety of criminal activities including sending malicious communications,” reads the filing.
Non-Brits like myself will recognize this tactic of wanting to ban services that don’t bend over a barrel for local police, having seen it so many times with services like Craig’s List. In the case of Twitter, the company already complies with police requests that are matters of life or death and does so voluntarily. What they don’t allow is law enforcement to go on fishing expeditions in non-serious matters. Now, should you think that such petty action by UK police is unlikely, please keep in your mind all the links provided above. Were I Twitter, I wouldn’t want to open up that can of worms either.
Luckily, that prevailing opinion is that Mr. Galloway is simply trying to draw media attention to himself. The Parliament’s own website concurs.
“Although there is very little prospect of EDMs being debated, many attract a great deal of public interest and frequently receive media coverage,” claims the website, whilst summarising, “The majority will attract only one or two signatures.”
Given Mr. Galloway’s rather, ahem, colorful history, I suppose we shouldn’t be surprised by such a move on his part. That said, fear not, my dear Brits, Twitter will remain for now.
Written by Timothy Geigner