Among the recent riots which have received global coverage are the London riots and the Vancouver riots of 2011. Are we moving towards a time when location information from your smart phone and posts that have been sent from your phone will implicate you as a participant of a given event? Could police intercept or simply collect real-time information from telecommunications operators and social media providers about your involvement in a given incident?

In the London riots, Blackberry RIM agreed to cooperate with UK police and the home office to identify and locate looters and rioters, and organisers of the public unrest. In Vancouver, police called on the community to take video evidence and submit it to local police for review and evidence towards rioters.

In a statement on Monday, RIM disclosed:

“[a]s in all markets around the world where BlackBerry is available, we co-operate with local telecommunications operators, law enforcement and regulatory officials.”

In response to the BlackBerry announcement, the BlackBerry Blog was hacked by a group that call themselves TeamPoison. The hackers wrote:

“You Will _NOT_ assist the UK Police because if u do innocent members of the public who were at the wrong place at the wrong time and owned a blackberry will get charged for no reason at all …. if you do assist the police by giving them chat logs, gps locations, customer information & access to peoples BlackBerryMessengers you will regret it…”

 

Could we be moving toward a time when police can gather mass surveillance warrants during particular emergencies or times of upheaval? Compare this with the notion of Hildebrandt's (2011) "proactive forensic profiling and criminalisation". You can find her book chapter abstract here: http://works.bepress.com/mireille_hildebrandt/37/