Tweeting is kind of an act of resistance and defiance, a way of shouting to the sometimes disinterested world that you’re stubborn, proud, and not giving in as everywhere else is turned into a clone of everywhere else.
They were threatening me all the time and saying I would be put in jail if I didn’t co-operate. They treated me like I was a criminal or someone about to attack the UK… It was exhausting and frustrating, but I knew I wasn’t doing anything wrong.
David Miranda, in an interview with The Guardian about his nine-hour detention at Heathrow Airport under England’s Schedule Seven of its Terrorism Act “which allows officers to stop, search and question individuals at airports, ports and border areas.”
Miranda is the partner of The Guardian’s Glenn Greenwald, the journalist who broke the NSA surveillance story. Miranda tells The Guardian that “he was not allowed to call [Greenwald], who is a qualified lawyer in the US, nor was he given an interpreter, despite being promised one because he felt uncomfortable speaking in a second language… His carry-on bags were searched and, he says, police confiscated a computer, two pen drives, an external hard drive and several other electronic items.”
Miranda was passing through England from Berlin where he had met Laura Poitras, a documentary filmmaker also working on the NSA leaks. He says the drives he carried contained “materials” being passed between Poitras and Greenwald.
This isn’t a story about whether one agrees with Edward Snowden’s decision to leak classified National Security Agency documents, or what one thinks of Glenn Greenwald’s journalism. It is a story about whether sweeping powers passed with the understanding they’d be used against terrorists will henceforth be marshaled against anyone Western governments want to target, even if there is zero chance that they are associated with Al Qaeda or its affiliates. This is a story about whether national security journalism is already being treated as terrorism so that government officials can bring more powerful tools to bear against leaks of classified information. And it’s a story about the impropriety of targeting the loved ones of journalists in adversarial relationships with the government in order to intimidate them or others.
Twitter is not just a closed coffee shop among friends. It goes out to hundreds of thousands of people and you must take responsibility for it. It is not a place where you can gossip and say things with impunity, and we are about to demonstrate that.
Andrew Reid, lawyer for Former Tory Party treasurer Alistair McAlpine, to the Daily Mirror. Tweet revenge: Tory to sue 10,000 Twitter users who branded him a paedo.
The News: Earlier this month the BBC’s Newsnight aired a program about an unresolved sex abuse scandal that took place in UK children’s homes in the 1970s and 1980s. In it, Newsnight linked an unnamed Conservative Party member to the crimes but, oddly, never actually named him.
Soon, however, Twitter users were identifying Alistair McAlpine as the unnamed politician. Which he isn’t, or wasn’t, as the case may be.
In the aftermath, the BBC’s director general George Entwistle resigned and two BBC news executives, Helen Boaden, and her deputy, Stephen Mitchell have “stepped aside.”
Now, McAlpine intends to sue those who tweeted and/or retweeted the allegations. The Daily Mirror reports that 10,000 people have been identified.
Via the New York Times:
In a damning report after months of investigation into the hacking scandal at Rupert Murdoch’s newspapers, a British parliamentary panel concluded on Tuesday that Mr. Murdoch was “not a fit person” to run a huge international company.
The startling conclusion about the world’s most influential media tycoon went much further in criticizing Mr. Murdoch than had been expected from Parliament’s select committee on culture, media and sport, which has conducted several inquiries into press standards, the most recent starting last year.
Via the BBC:
After initially claiming that malpractice was limited to one “rogue” reporter at the News of the World, News International has now settled dozens of civil cases admitting liability for hacking between 2001 and 2006.
More than 6,000 possible victims have been identified and the police have so far made a number of arrests in connection with an investigation reopened in January 2011 - although no charges have yet been brought.
Via the Guardian:
Rupert Murdoch, the document said, “did not take steps to become fully informed about phone hacking” and “turned a blind eye and exhibited wilful blindness to what was going on in his companies and publications”.
The committee concluded that the culture of the company’s newspapers “permeated from the top” and “speaks volumes about the lack of effective corporate governance at News Corporation and News International”.
That prompted the MPs’ report to say: “We conclude, therefore, that Rupert Murdoch is not a fit person to exercise the stewardship of major international company.”
Even the BBC took up the social media panic discourse on August 9th and reported about the power of social media to bring together not only five, but 200 people for forming a rioting “mob”. Media and politicians created the impression that the riots were orchestrated by “Twitter mobs”, “Facebook mobs” and “Blackberry mobs”… A few month ago we had “Twitter revolutions” and “Facebook revolutions” in Egypt and Tunisia, one now hears about “social media mobs” in the UK. So what to make of these claims?…
…Blaming technology or popular culture for violence –- the Daily Mirror blamed “the pernicious culture of hatred around rap music, which glorifies violence and loathing of authority (especially the police but including parents), exalts trashy materialism and raves about drugs“ for the riots –- is an old and typical ideology that avoids engaging with the real societal causes of riots and unrest and promises easy solutions: policing, control of technology, surveillance.
It neglects the structural causes of riots and how violence is built into contemporary societies. Focusing on technology (as cause of or solution for riots) is the ideological search for control, simplicity and predictability in a situation of high complexity, unpredictability and uncertainty. It is also an expression of fear. It projects society’s guilt and shame into objects. Explanations are not sought in complex social relations, but in the fetishism of things.