The recent London riots have sparked much interest among authoritarian states like China. Technology took center stage in the riots as participants took pictures with their cell phones and gave their friends up-to-the -minute accounts of their activities. Those wishing to help authorities have identified people and locations from photos posted online. It seems that every side of the riots has used technology to their advantage, with varying degrees of success. And countries like China are watching. The precedents set by Western officials as they grapple with evolving cell phone and internet technologies may help to vindicate countries under authoritarian governments who rarely hesitate to disconnect widespread access to the internet during times of unrest. But it may also help these countries acquire new tools and strategies to enhance their already-existing surveillance.