FOIA Info Reveals That BART Shut Down Cell Service With One Email To Telco Partner
from the it's-that-easy dept
Following the astounding and likely illegal decision by BART to shut down mobile phone service in stations in an attempt to block protesters from being able to communicate, Christopher Soghoian and Jacob Appelbaum filed Freedom of Information Act requests for the internal communications concerning this decision. Those communications have now been released and can be seen here (pdf) or embedded below.
The interesting stuff is closer to the end. Basically, someone from BART, Dirk Peters, sent a single email to ForzaTelecom, who must be BART’s partner in managing the cell service, saying that they needed it shut off:
The BART Police require the M-Line wireless from the Trans Bay Tube Portal to the Balboa Park Station, to be shut down today between 4pm & 8.
Steve , please help to notify all carriers.
The “Steve” in question appears to be Steve Dutto from Forza, who replied and sent an email to various telcos (including Verizon Wireless, Sprint, T-Mobile, AT&T and MetroPCS), saying
I have spoken to or left a voicemail for most of you. We have been told that we must shut down the DAS system from the Oakland portal to the Balboa St. Station from 4-8 pm. We do not believe that any of the carriers need to do anything, the nodes will be turned down from the Civic Center Headend and then turned back up when given the ok from the BART police.
The emails also note that beyond cell service, BART also shut down its WiFi service — also via a single email from a BART representative to the WiFi partner, WiFi Rail, who noted that they were “happy to help in any way.” Nice of them.