An 18-year-old woman has been charged by police, accused of using the BlackBerry Messenger service to encourage others to participate in riots.
The unnamed teenager, from Clacton in Essex, is alleged to have used the group messaging service to encourage her friends to go rioting in the town, as violence spread across the UK this week.
She has now been formally charged, under the Serious Crime Act, of intentionally encouraging or assisting in the commission of an offence, and will appear in court on September 1st.
The police action comes following widespread condemnation of how social media and BlackBerry Messenger in particular, was used in the shocking spread of rioting in London and other UK cities.
This is the first case in which police have specified the use of BBM.
Earlier this week Prime Minister David Cameron hinted that those found to have used the service to escalate the troubles could be banned from using IM services and social networks.
“We are working with the police, the intelligence services and industry to look at whether it would be right to stop people communicating via these websites and services when we know they are plotting violence, disorder and criminality,” he said.
Other MPs have suggested that the services be shut down during such disturbances, but we all know the chances of that happening are about as high as Nick Clegg winning the Man of the Year award.
RIM has promised to assist the police in tracking down those who used BlackBerry Messenger in order to co-ordinate the riots and bring more people to the party.
Ofcom reckons 37 per cent of the smartphone market in poor urban areas is accounted for by BlackBerrys.