The Bay Area Rapid Transit turned off cellular service in its subway late Thursday in an attempt to keep protestors from using phones to organize its latest action against the San Francisco area agency. That move sparked more protests comparing the forced outage to the same tactics used by Middle East dictators to quell protests.
“The hacking collective Anonymous responded in typical form over the weekend by defacing the agency’s website, and stealing and releasing the private account information of some 2,000 San Francisco–area transit riders,” according to a Wired report Monday.
Hmmmm…. that doesn’t seem like a very good way to gain the sympathies and support of the riding public.
For its part, BART says it owns and operates the cellular transmission infrastructure, and thus has a right to shut it down to protect its passengers. And one Chicago First Amendment lawyer opined that the law may be on BART’s side:
“You have the right to speak,” Damon Dunn, a First Amendment lawyer in Chicago, said in a telephone interview with Wired. “I don’t think you have the right to leverage your speech through technology that you don’t necessarily control yourself.”
What do you think? What if the CTA did that here under similar circumstances? The Associated Press photos here certainly show general chaos and unsafe conditions on the platform during last week’s protests.