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Technology – A force for good or bad?

Technology continues to improve day on day, and becomes cheaper within the same time. But is it a force for good or bad?

Recent riots in the UK have shocked and disgusted politicians, the police and the wider public, more so in terms of how technology is increasingly changing how crime is organised and managed. Rioters were able to avoid the police in blockades and had illustrated the fact that they were in control of the streets through the means of Facebook, Twitter and other networking sites. The police seemingly had no capability to address the fast moving problem of the vast number of locations planned for looting. By the time they had organised themselves, it was way too late as they had to try and continue to seize any opportunity to lockdown city centres. Thus the point remains that the police need to catch up on how they monitor social networking. The other factor to ask our leaders, is the fact that state institutions are failing to keep up with the know how on using the various technologies, and in doing do are not using it their advantage. The other issue facing governments is that the internet is hard to regulate, as it is mainly open and governments face barriers due to jurisdiction when courts/government request information etc. from the various online companies. They also aim to block an area’s communication if it is deemed that it is being used to co-ordinate a riot or generally inciting violence. The Downside to this is there will always be ways around any blockage; just ask most high school teenagers who still get on banned sites. A new change being brought in by the UK Police in conjunction with social networking sites is to provide paper copies of any incriminating comments left by an individual.

Needless to the say technology has many benefits, it allows all to communicate via handheld gadgets or online through social networking sites. The use for communication can thus be used to assist in both organising crime and maintaining large scale acts. It can also be used for quick effective goodness in people for either charity or community functions, as seen by the large turnout out in the streets of London, Birmingham, Manchester and Liverpool to assist in the mass clean-up after the mess left without care by the rioters.The recent riots have highly illustrated the speed in which those participating in riots can organise and maintain themselves. The capability of fast communication alongside live media coverage has assisted rioters in mocking the police and creating a laughing stock of their policing strategies. However since the riots, it seems the state institutions including the police are only now starting to get used to using social networking sites to better their work in finding culprits.The police have even been aided by some rioters themselves who had helped police track them down, this done by happily boasting via pictures or homemade videos; proudly showing off their loot to everyone they have within their friendship network and more. There are now many calls for the statute books to be adapted and be exercised in the fight against those who incite violence in written terms on websites. The government has also mentioned about new powers over social networking to be granted to the police forces, however it is not known what they will be as yet. Speculated measures include a temporary blackout of the use of social networking amongst others, but as said it is mere speculation at this time.

The power of technology cannot be undermined where it is possible to bring down governments as seen a short time ago in the Middle East. Cadbury’s had even felt the power in which a magnitude of likes had forced Cadbury to bring back a particular bar it had taken of the shelves years prior. It can then be utilised as a fierce rival tool by the public at large as well as by local communities, which can even include neighbours or families of rioters. They are able to widely condemn and vent their anger focusing on the behaviour of the hooligans who participated in the riots.

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