BART Turns Off Mobile Phone Service At Station Because It Doesn't Want Protestors To Communicate

from the really-now? dept

With all the talk in the UK from politicians about shutting down mobile messaging services, it's worth pointing out that it apparently takes much less to shut down mobile service in the US at times. Jacob Appelbaum points out that BART -- the Bay Area Rapid Transit train system here in the California Bay Area -- apparently shut down all cell service at a station under the (false, as it turns out) belief that protesters were going to show up there:
As an added precaution, the agency shut off cellphone service on the station's platform. While Alkire said the tactic was an unusual measure, he said it was "a great tool to utilize for this specific purpose" given that the agency was expecting a potentially volatile situation.
That's really quite incredible, and I'm at a loss to see how that could be allowed. Because BART feared people protesting it literally shut down mobile phone service at its station? Since this particular station is underground, it has special equipment as regular cell towers don't reach the station. However, that shouldn't give BART officials the right to just turn off the service because they're unhappy that people might protest.

Filed Under: bart, free speech, mobile phones, protests, wireless
Companies: bart


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  1. identicon
    Bushi, 12 Aug 2011 @ 3:41pm

    No surprise

    Not really a shocker but super disappointing. The issue is that BARTs stuff is privately owned so they can turn it off whenever they want (never mind the unintended consequences, and lawsuit risk from them). For that matter cel towers are private too, so outside of your tos, they can pretty much shut them down or move them or whatever they like at any time as as a private provider. They can also be the tools of government any time they like as AT&T has demonstrated for years with the NSA free pass wide net tapping.

    *shrug* until we drive true accountability from politicians this is what we get.

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