Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) shut down cell service at four San Francisco stations Thursday night to thwart a protest attempt. The decision has drawn the ire of many, including members of hacker collective Anonymous.
Another protest was planned for Thursday night. Protest organizers were said to be coordinating via mobile devices; this prompted officials to interrupt wireless service for three hours.
Anonymous, inflamed over what it believes to be cellphone censorship, has initiated an #OpBART campaign against BART and is taking to Twitter and other channels to rally supporters.
Anonymous is asking followers to file a complaint with the FCC and bombard BART with emails and faxes. The group posted BART contact information in a post on Tumblr. The @YourAnonNews Twitter account also hints at more disruption to come.
BART, meanwhile, stands by its actions. “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,” says a statement from BART. “BART asked wireless providers to temporarily interrupt service at select BART stations as one of many tactics to ensure the safety of everyone on the platform.”
James Allison, deputy chief communications officer for BART, later told CNET it had disabled mobile services at Embarcadero, Montgomery Street, Powell Street and Civic Center stations. “BART staff or contractors shut down power to the nodes and alerted the cell carriers,” he said.
BART’s decision to shut off cell service comes just days after UK rioters used BlackBerry Messenger to communicate and coordinate efforts.
Image courtesy of Twitter, YourAnonNews
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