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Anonymous hits BART for blocking cell service

August 13, 2011 8:42pm
Hacktivist group Anonymous on Saturday (Manila time) called for "attacks" on San Francisco's Bay Area Rapid Transit System (BART) for blocking cell phone service in some of its areas to thwart civil disturbances organized through mobile devices.

While it did not say if it will attack BART's computers, Anonymous called on people to flood BART's directors with black fax, email bombs and phone calls.

"For the people outside of San Francisco, show solidarity by using black fax, email bombs, and phone calls to the BART Board of Directors. BART decided to cut off your communications and now we will flood theirs," it said in a statement where it listed BART's contact information, email addresses and fax number.

They can also file complaints with the Federal Communications Commission against BART at fcc.gov/complaints and jammerinfo@fcc.gov.

On the other hand, it urged San Francisco residents to gather at Civic Center Station at 5 p.m. of August 15 for a peaceful protest.

It requested that they bring cameras to "record further abuses of power by the police and to legitimize the protest."

"We will be wearing 'blood' stained shirts for remembrance to the blood that is on the hands of the BART police," it added.

"We will not tolerate censorship. We will do everything in our power (we are legion) to parallel the actions of censorship that you have chosen to engage in. We will be free to speak out against you when you try to cover up crimes, namely on behalf of those who have engaged in violence against a mostly unarmed public. We will set those who have been censored free from their silence. That’s a promise. Anonymous demands that this activity revolving around censorship cease and desist and we know you are already planning to do this again. We will not issue any more warnings," it said to BART.

BART earlier said the "temporary wireless service interruption in select BART stations" aimed to thwart organizers planning to disrupt BART service on August 11.

It said the organizers had stated they would use mobile devices to coordinate their disruptive activities and communicate about the location and number of BART Police.

"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 temporarily interrupted service at select BART stations as one of many tactics to ensure the safety of everyone on the platform," it said.

But it added cell phone service was not interrupted outside BART stations, while numerous BART Police officers and other BART personnel with radios were present during the planned protest, and train intercoms and white courtesy telephones remained available for customers seeking assistance or reporting suspicious activity.

"BART’s primary purpose is to provide, safe, secure, efficient, reliable, and clean transportation services. BART accommodates expressive activities that are constitutionally protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution and the Liberty of Speech Clause of the California Constitution (expressive activity), and has made available certain areas of its property for expressive activity," it said.

Protest attempt

Tech site Mashable noted BART shut down cell service at four San Francisco stations Thursday night to thwart a protest attempt stemming from an incident last July.

Last July, a BART police officer shot and killed Charles Blair Hill, a transient who reportedly pulled a knife on BART officers.

The incident enraged protesters who disrupted BART service a week later. Another protest was planned for Thursday night.

"BART’s decision to shut off cell service comes just days after UK rioters used BlackBerry Messenger to communicate and coordinate efforts," it added.



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