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BART officials acknowledged this afternoon that they shut down cell phone and wireless data service in its downtown San Francisco stations to disrupt a planned protest. Their announcement sparked denunciations from civil libertarians and the apparent threat of a cyber-attack on the BART website.
A statement posted on the transit agency's website said the communications blackout was ordered in the interest of public safety:
"Organizers planning to disrupt BART service on August 11, 2011 stated they would use mobile devices to coordinate their disruptive activities and communicate about the location and number of BART Police," the statement reads.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) forbids jamming cellphones, but BART's move had a different legal context. Because the transit system contracts with five large telecommunications firms to provide underground and station service, BART did not use jamming technology, it simply turned off a service.
Update: Not so fast on the great weekend. Looks more and more like the move is illegal, according to an update at SFGate:
...no person shall willfully or maliciously interfere with or cause interference to any radio communications of any station licensed or authorized by or under this Act or operated by the United States Government..."
Originally posted by Violater1
San Francisco has always done what they want. Many times they have thumbed their noses at the rest of the country. If they turn off their towers, then so be it. It will affect them more than us, and maybe it will shake up some of those shepple there.. Maybe they'll shut off power and other utilities next.
There's a precedent that this administration would love to follow.
BTW, you read the KOS?
Now I know why your eyes water
SnF my friend.
Originally posted by niceguybob
I just posted my responce on another thread to this topic.
How about just texting before you go down the stairs and getting on BART? We're talking about an extra five minutes of planning.
They won't shut down the whole communication system in Frisco. The Flash Mob protesters have to know which train and direction they're going to go BEFORE they hop on the train anyway..
What? They can't organize at the TOP of the stairs before they go down?
Besides...Whatever communication system mobsters use,it's being monitored anyway.
Cops just want to know how many officers to have ready to greet them.
As Adam once said to Eve "Better stand back honey,I don't know HOW big it'll get."
Cops just want to make sure they have the location and correct number of "greeters" on hand depending on crowd size.
Originally posted by beezzer
If it were just an issue of convenience, then I'd agree. But this is manipulation. This was a direct attempt at stopping a protest, free speech from occuring.
The move was made after BART learned that protesters planned to use mobile devices to coordinate a demonstration on train platforms.
'A civil disturbance during commute times at busy downtown San Francisco stations could lead to platform overcrowding and unsafe conditions for BART customers, employees and demonstrators,' BART officials said in a prepared statement.
Then you call the police. This is exactly the same argument TSA uses. It's all for safety.
Originally posted by alfa1
Now of course I dont know if BART is lying here, but if true, that the protest was planned for peak hour times *on the platforms*, then I would have done evertying I could to stop it as well.
Free speech is one thing, stupidly putting peoples lives in danger is another.