Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) San Francisco’s public trains had cell service disrupted in four of its stations on Thursday night. Local officials chose to shut down mobile networks in these stations in an effort to stymie communications that might lead to rioting. Reports are coming in from all around that in response to rumors that protesters were using cell phones to communicate. In any location suspected of being a meeting place BART officials cut power to the NODES eliminating cellular or data coverage in the stations.
Recently a James Crowell, a BART officer (and soon to be FBI agent) was cleared of wrongdoing in the shooting death of Charles Blair Hill a transient. BART police Chief Kenton Rainey said last month that he is “comfortable” with how officers reacted on the night Hill was killed. These protests and actions are in response to this being the fifth killing since 1192. Not only that but the previous BART shooting lead to a lenient sentencing of Johannes Mehserle. After taking the life of Oscar Grant III, an unarmed man, Mehserle was sentenced to two years in this past November, and was up for parole on June 1. Protests were arranged in June as well, in response to that killing.
BART has been quoted as saying,
“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”
“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.”
Earlier in the day they posted this to their website
“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 said in a statement on its website. “BART temporarily interrupted (cellphone) service at select BART stations as one of many tactics to ensure the safety of everyone on the platform.”
However if you are to believe the last part, you’ll then come to quickly realize that even calling 9-1-1 was also disabled, safety right? While we do understand those in San Francisco being wary of what protesters could do, see whats was going on in the UK, shutting down cell service isn’t the way of doing so. They now have a group of Anonymous users mad at them as well which might not have been the smartest thing to do.
Anonymous has taken to Twitter to promote the calling/email/faxing of both the FCC and BART in a form of protest, of which would/will get worse.