British Officials: No More Fake Names On Twitter And Facebook, Pleez

In case you were wondering, here’s how British law enforcement agencies are taking steps to reduce the chances of future riots breaking out: By trying to control social media, up to and including demanding that companies like Twitter and Facebook squash any anonymity. Or, in their terms, “crack down on the networks being used for criminal behavior.”

British officials and representatives of Twitter, Facebook and BlackBerry met Thursday to discuss voluntary ways to limit or restrict the use of social media to combat crime and periods of civil unrest, while trying to dodge charges of hypocrisy and censorship that trailed Prime Minister David Cameron’s call to restrict use of the networks after this month’s riots.

The government’s home minister, Theresa May, according to one account of the meeting, said that the aim was not to “discuss restricting Internet services,” but to instead “crack down on the networks being used for criminal behavior.” A spokeswoman for Ms. May said the government “would not be seeking any additional powers.”

But the discussion, according to those present, was still aimed at reeling in social media and strengthening the hand of law enforcement in gathering information from those networks … Twitter, (one official) said, giving an example, could consider compelling people to use their real names instead of anonymous handles.

Seriously, couldn’t you actually see this being the plot of an episode of Reno 911. Couldn’t you just see Deputy Travis Junior and Lieutenant Jim Dangle interrogating Terry to find out what his Twitter handle is?

“We have it on good account that your Twitter handle is @yourfacesucks, Terry? Is that true?”

“Maybe, whatever…your face does suck, by the way.”