There's little anonymity left in rioting these days. Thanks to cameraphones and tagging, police will be able to identify some of the Vancouver hooligans who set fires, smashed storefronts and overturned cars in Stanley Cup related rioting.
There are already loads of photos on a Facebook group and Tumblr set up by Vancouverites to out the rioters. There are also pictures all over Twitter, where the mayor and police have issued tweets asking people to preserve their videos and pics of the rioting.
Uploading images is one thing, but authorities also need people to snitch out their associates and tag the photos. It looks like that's already happening. Inevitably, some innocents have already been incorrectly dragged into the social media manhunt.
Hopefully the Vancouver PD is able to bring charges against a large number of wrongdoers. The deterrent value of social media shame over drunkards is admittedly limited. But if people know they could get sent to jail thanks to anyone with an iPhone, the contagious allure of rioting could, at least, be reduced.
[Photo via Vancouver 2011 Riot Criminal List]