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UK teen charged with inciting riot via BlackBerry Messenger

updated 07:45 pm EDT, Fri August 12, 2011

Encouraged others to create & capture violence

A young woman has been accused of using her BlackBerry to encourage others to commit looting and other acts of mayhem during the past week's disturbances in London and other UK cities. The 18-year-old has been charged with intentionally "encouraging or assisting in the commission of an offence" under the country's Serious Crime Act 2007, the Telegraph said. The crime carries stiff fines and imprisonment for up to five years.

The teenager is alleged to have used her BlackBerry Messenger Service (BBM) to encourage friends in Clacton-on-Sea, where she lived, to copy and post scenes of looting and violence. Clacton is a sea-side town about 80 miles northeast of London, now known mainly for its retirement homes.

Unlike normal IMing, messaging via BBM uses proprietary encryption where the code is shared only between the two parties involved, making a text's origins and content difficult to trace. BBM's owner, RIM has said that it will help police in tracking down perpetrators. This in turn has ired some hackers who have threatened RIM for its assistance.

The BlackBerry is very popular amongst the UK's teens, in part because BBM offers relatively cheap texting between users.



By Electronista Staff
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