Blowhard UK MP Says Ban Twitter Because Grandstanding Is Fun

from the not-gonna-happen dept

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 LEOs 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.

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Comments on “Blowhard UK MP Says Ban Twitter Because Grandstanding Is Fun”

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Duke (profile) says:

Details of the EDM

For anyone interested, the full text of the EDM, along with the two signatories, can be found here (emphasis added):

That this House notes that Twitter is now a very widely used mode of social networking; further notes that Twitter is a US-based enterprise whose primary motivation is to maximise its profits; further notes that Twitter is now used for a variety of criminal activities including sending malicious communications; further notes that Twitter refuses to co-operate with the UK authorities in general and the police in particular in trying to detect the source of criminal communications ‘unless it is a matter of life and death’, to be determined by Twitter; believes that this failure to co-operate with the detection of the sources of criminal behaviour is reprehensible; and calls on the Government to impose sanctions on Twitter until it agrees to fully co-operate with the UK authorities and police in the detection of crime.

So just the usual grandstanding. I’m not even sure if that is Twitter’s policy, and whether or not they do co-operate when required to by law – there are, of course, criminal offences with not aiding the police where required and impeding their progress etc., but I don’t know how broad they are.

Anonymous Coward says:

George Galloway is a self publicising joke. How anyone take take him seriously as a human being never-mind a Member of Parliament is beyond me. Just a few weeks ago he walked out of a debate at at Christ Church college, Oxford University saying the that “I don’t debate with Israelis. I don’t recognise Israel.”

BTW the debate motion was “Israel should withdraw immediately from the West Bank” Who the hell did he think he would be debating when he agreed to turn-up?

Violated (profile) says:


I see two possibilities here. The first is that MP George Galloway was serious which must have meant he had just ate, smoked and injected every mind altering drug known to science to be able to stand up in the House of Commons and to declare that cutting the whole of the UK off from Twitter was actually a good idea!

The second and more likely possibility is that good old George was just joking. He after all knows that many of his fellow MPs are huge Twitter users, to keep their followers updated, and to suggest “communications masochism” would give them all a good laugh.

So here are all the UK public looking on and thinking “Is this really what we elected you for?” along with “You have had your 5 minutes of fun so now back to work”

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