San Francisco's BART Blocks Protester Cell Phones For (Totalitarian) Fun
We would not have picked San Francisco for the first American city where "They" would start using autocratic control tactics on its disgruntled citizens, but here it is: civil liberties advocates arebinging on tinfoil hats full of margaritas because the apparently fascist hippies running popular urinal and firing range the Bay Area Rapid Transit District blocked cell phone service at select rail stations where activists were planning a protest, to "safeguard safety with silence" or whatever nonsense alliterative Orwellian word combination sounds creepiest. (The BART actually has cell phone service, unlike the rest of America's hobo transit, haha.) The protest was organized to call attention to the always-controversial BART transit police's killing of homeless man Charles Hill, a protest which to transit officials must have sounded like "London riots in ur subway system." Good thing they have an "off switch" for their customers' phones! FIRST AMENDMENT SAY WHAT??
Hacker group Anonymous also did not like this, and they broke into BART's allegedly "world's easiest to hack website" and posted a bunch of BART usernames online in protest of the measure. BART responded with a butthurt call for Anonymous to quit violating the rights of its customers, which to some rang "a wee hypocritical."
From the San Francisco Chronicle:
The hack attack sent BART scrambling to protect its websites, and it infuriated some riders whose information was leaked. It came as the hackers also called for a 5 p.m. protest today at BART's Civic Center Station, where a police officer fatally shot a knife-wielding man on July 3.
BART, which ignited a debate about technology and free expression when it shut down cell phone service last Thursday, has not ruled out blocking it again tonight, agency spokesman Jim Allison said.
"We're going to take steps to make sure our customers are safe," Allison said. "The interruption of cell phone service was done Thursday to prevent what could have been a dangerous situation. It's one of the tactics we have at our disposal. We may use it; we may not. And I'm not sure we would necessarily let anyone know in advance either way."