David Gewirtz @ ZD writes an interesting column on whether the 2nd Amendment of the US constitution (or equivalent protections globally) would have protected cell phone use if they had been around at the time. Despite the commenters digging a bit to deep into the constitutional theory, the question is a good one. Is your mobile a new weapon of choice, a means of defense, against a potentially overly strong centralized government? Not merely a protected means of communication rights, a la the first amendment, but one that is protected as a means of civil defense.
There is zero question that it has been used in recent times to bring down governments and to protest conditions as well as to organize radical dissent and rebellion. The picture I have posted above is the nature of the current debate, the protestor in the recent London Riots does not hold a gun or a bat or any other traditional weapon, they hold in their hand a cell phone, with a camera.
Do states, as in the current UK discussion, have the right to turn off our access to mobile technology? Or to social media? This is more complex than mere 1st amendment protection of speech as governments now have the ability to eliminate, fairly easily, the *means* of communication.
This brings to mind several other questions. We had universal obligations put upon telecommunications providers in the US when we built out the network. Does that obligation now extend to social media networks, mobile operators? If not, why not?