Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Censorship

BART Keeps Cell Service Despite Protests 196

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the be-glad-dissent-is-permitted dept.
Okian Warrior writes "After taking heat from the ACLU and being hacked by Anonymous for shutting down cellphone service to four stations last week, BART kept cell service on during Monday's protests. Officials at Bay Area Rapid Transit decided Monday that cutting cellphone service to thwart another planned protest would cause more trouble than the protests themselves. Instead, four stations were temporarily closed, creating a chaotic rush-hour commute."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

BART Keeps Cell Service Despite Protests

Comments Filter:
  • by jythie (914043)
    What a bunch of babies... dealing with protests by first cutting off people's ability to communicate, then when people get annoyed by THAT, they just shut stations completely? Then again this is an organization that looks out for its own and is not comfortable being questioned.. so not too surprising.
    • by MozeeToby (1163751) on Tuesday August 16, 2011 @03:58PM (#37111006)

      dealing with protests by first cutting off people's ability to communicate, then when people get annoyed by THAT, they just shut stations completely?

      Eh, I can't blame them for closing stations, considering that the stations they closed had protestors on the tracks, blocking trains from leaving. Which was a pretty stupid way to protest anyway since you're just going to piss off the other commuters, people who could have been on your side. Now all they'll remember is how those stupid protestors screwed made them late for work or late getting home (bearing in mind that they were already disrupting service).

      • by sjames (1099)

        Pix or it didn't happen. I have seen video of police closing doors and generally impeding the flow of the crowd, and of the media with bulky cameras and lights crowding out a train car, but no protesters on the tracks (wouldn't they tend to bump into the 3rd rail?) blocking trains.

        It seems from what I can see anyway, more likely the stations were closed so the inconvenience could be blamed on protesters.

      • Which was a pretty stupid way to protest anyway since you're just going to piss off the other commuters, people who could have been on your side.

        I don't know about that. Few details have been released, but what we do know is that the guy had a knife and was acting really stupidly. If you're going to start a protest because you're certain that the cops murdered an innocent man, based on THAT evidence, you probably have a lot of free time and aren't going to work.

        It's northern California anyway. Protests here aren't about making your message heard, they're about feeding your own ego. "Hey, I hear migrant farm workers are being mistreated... let

        • They aren't protesting this incident except as an excuse to protest against past behavior. Most of the anger being displayed would probably be better directed at the killing of Oscar Grant where an unarmed and restrained man was shot at point blank range (presumably due to the officer unintentionally drawing his gun when he meant to draw his taser). Having another seemingly similar incident occur involving the BART police force is just fanning the flames that were started years ago.

          Unfortunately, unlike t

        • Make my tripple whip soy french cream decaf mochalatte "skinny".
      • by Ruke (857276)
        You're absolutely correct: now people will remember the protest. They might be pissed off, but they'll know there was a protest, and there's a good chance they'll find out what the protest was about. It's a hell of a lot more effective than handing out pamphlets, or putting a card in BART's suggestion box.
        • by JordanL (886154) <[jordan.ledoux] [at] [gmail.com]> on Tuesday August 16, 2011 @04:47PM (#37111694) Homepage
          And this is why protesting the US never made it past the "I want to be heard!" stage in the 70s. Active protesters in the US don't even see their goal as changing anything, they see their goal as protesting.

          Protesting doesn't actually accomplish anything productive. It is a means to an end. That end never comes if you don't effectively convey your actual message to people in a way that asks them to consider if they agree.

          In other words, I am not saying you are wrong, I am saying you are missing the point. If your goal is to protest, then by all means, your logic is sound. If your goal is to change something, your logic may be sound or unsound. It is entirely up to the people receiving the message if your logic is sound. If you are comfortable leaving it up to them, then fine. But keep in mind that it you, the protester, who has the message that is trying to be disseminated. You are the one with the passion and the information. You must accept that it is then your responsibility to communicate that in a way that others can effectively receive.

          Protesting for the sake of protesting hasn't been effective at any kind of institutional or long-term change for decades. Why people continue to think it is productive is beyond me. If you are truly passionate about your message, actually go out on a limb and put in real effort. Any idiot with a sign can protest, but not any protester can be a Gandhi. You have to choose to commit yourself to your goal to do that, and speaking frankly, most protesters (like most people in general) are not willing to invest that much of themselves in committing to something that doesn't directly benefit them.
          • by Darinbob (1142669)

            The protests against Vietnam did little to end the war there. As long as it was some long haired weirdos doing the protesting the powers that be didn't pay attention. Things didn't really start to change until the middle class started to get involved and objecting to the war. I'm not sure if the early protesters actually affected the middle class, or if the middle class had just grown weary of the same old pointless fight displayed on the news night after night.

        • by EvilStein (414640)

          No. It's San Francisco. A lot of the people would be there for their Facebook photo op/check-in. Just like the anti-war protests that accomplished exactly diddly squat.

          It's barely above slacktivism.

    • by Darinbob (1142669)

      They decided it was unsafe to allow the operation of the trains. The intent of the protesters was to disrupt service and this is what they accomplished. The platforms were extremely crowded, reports were that some protesters kept train doors from closing, and when one station was shut down protesters marched to the next one. Given the history of recent protests tjhat had protesters climbing on top of trains it is not unreasonable to assume that there was a safety issue here.

      Protesters were on the train p

  • Shut it all off! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Nom du Keyboard (633989) on Tuesday August 16, 2011 @04:00PM (#37111032)
    If I has been in charge of BART this weekend (and I was up in the Bay Area during this) I would have shut the whole courtesy BART cell phone repeater system down and told the EFF and the ACLU to take a flying f'ing leap into the bay. There is NOTHING in the Constitution about freedom of speech that says that you have to assist demonstrators in shutting down your system. BART exists to move people efficiently in a city with too many cars, too much pollution, and never enough parking. The demonstrators are a bunch of loonies who want to be part of an Anonymous based action and have no right to even be on BART's private property for that purpose. If BART directors actually had a spine that wasn't broken down by too much bending down to Political Correctness they wouldn't have these issues. This is something to be sorted out in the courts, not on the streets - unless you really want to become Egypt. Personally, I don't.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by SydShamino (547793)

      And if anyone had a heart attack on a train this weekend, and no one was able to call for assistance, you would have been charged with criminal negligence and sent to prison.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        And if anyone had a heart attack on a train this weekend, and no one was able to call for assistance, you would have been charged with criminal negligence and sent to prison.

        A Red Herring fallacy [nizkor.org] if there ever was one.

      • by jdunn14 (455930) <jdunn&iguanaworks,net> on Tuesday August 16, 2011 @04:11PM (#37111188) Homepage

        Bull.

        The BART cell phone repeater system has only been in place for a few years as a courtesy to riders. There are still emergency phones in stations (along with employees who have access to land lines) and the train conductors have the ability to call for assistance as well. People have built systems for calling for help in emergencies for decades before cell phones existed.

        • Every cellphone transmitter only exists as a "courtesy". You think it's OK for the various owners to turn them on and off, re-route calls, etc. for any reason?
      • by Duradin (1261418)

        I wonder how the trains communicated with each other and the stations before the cell phone repeaters. There must have been a lot of accidental collisions due to getting off their scheduled times.

      • by Darinbob (1142669)

        No, the trains still have communication. Only the cell phones wouldn't work. Cell phones are not the only communication mechanism in existence, and people have had medical emergencies on BART before the cell phone repeaters were installed. The train operator has communication with BART offices at all times. In fact you can not just rely on cell phones anyway, you still have to tell the operator so that the train can stop at the next station.

        The most that cell phone disruption on BART is going to do is p

    • by Ossifer (703813)

      The last person who tried this line of thinking is currently lying on a hospital bed during his trial...

    • by The MAZZTer (911996) <megazzt@NoSPAM.gmail.com> on Tuesday August 16, 2011 @04:21PM (#37111358) Homepage
      But how far can this logic take us? Let's just shut off water and electricity to the properties of people we don't like. Nothing in the constitution that says they have a right to be able to purchase those services. IMO at some point, conveniences become widespread enough that we start to rely on them, and the providers of that service can then exact control over us by restricting or controlling this service, which previous to our reliance might not have mattered so much.
      • by poity (465672)

        I get what you're saying and I agree to an extent, but consider that water and electricity provide for basic human biological needs - thirst, hygiene, and need for warmth. Perhaps cell phone access does not fit in that group as perfectly as we may wish.

        • by Darinbob (1142669)

          And consider that turning off water and electricity for a couple of hours on a Friday night is not necessarily a massive inconvenience. There are natural outages that last longer than that.

    • I would have shut the whole courtesy BART cell phone repeater system down and told the EFF and the ACLU to take a flying f'ing leap into the bay. There is NOTHING in the Constitution about freedom of speech that says that you have to assist demonstrators in shutting down your system.

      Were any of their arguments actually based around the constitutionality of that act? Because otherwise, that has nothing to do with the protests. Something not being barred by the constitution is a terrible standard for whether something is justified or not.

    • by wernst (536414)

      "There is NOTHING in the Constitution about freedom of speech that says that you have to assist demonstrators in shutting down your system."

      Actually, it's the FCC that has full legal authority regarding cell phone service (and pretty much all wireless communication methods), and its intentional disruption or jamming, and how NO ONE is supposed to be legally allowed to do it. You know why movie theaters can't install cell phone jammers to keep phones in the audience from ringing? The FCC makes it illegal to

      • The FCC can prevent jammers from being used, but can't prevent the owners of a repeater from shutting it down. AFAIK, BART didn't jam any signals, only shut down the repeaters they had installed.
    • Why are people presenting the false dilemma of having either no cellular service or station/service interruptions?

      "Protesters" have zero right to vandalize websites or physical property, steal personally identifying information, or cause service disruptions. They should expect to be caught when CCTV and cell records are subpoenaed & should look forward to felony conspiracy charges.

      These demonstrators were doubly stupid because they alienated people who agreed with them. The transit union and mayor cam

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by DRJlaw (946416)

      There is NOTHING in the Constitution about freedom of speech that says that you have to assist demonstrators in shutting down your system.

      Merely that pesky First Amendment ("Congress shall make no law... abridging the freedom of speech") as applied to the states through the Fourteenth Amendment (See Gitlow v. New York, 268 U.S. 652 (1925)) and a host of Supreme Court precedent stating that prior restraints to speech must serve a compelling governmental interest, be narrowly tailored to achieve that goal or interest, and be the least restrictive means for achieving that interest.

      The closest analog to this situation is likely found in the immin

    • by Whuffo (1043790)

      I hope you enjoy living in the dystopian world you pine for. Remember when they come for you that you asked for it.

  • Cutting off cell service? Why? Because people never protested or rioted before the existence of cell phones?

    Can someone explain the logic?

    • by Nexzus (673421)

      It's the London scapegoat effect.

    • by wmbetts (1306001)

      Cell phones make it easier to assembly a large mass of people at any given location, because of instance communication (calls, texting, and internet).

      That's a guess, but I think that was probably what they were thinking.

      • Cell phones make it easier to assembly a large mass of people at any given location, because of instance communication (calls, texting, and internet).

        That's a guess, but I think that was probably what they were thinking.

        More than that. The demonstration leaders had announced their intention of organizing the crowd in the most effective manner for their own purposes during the first demonstration by using cell phones, twitter, and texting ahead of time. I don't think that they had anticipated this response from BART.

      • by Duradin (1261418)

        It also makes it easy to move that mass of people to keep them ahead of law enforcement.

    • by Darinbob (1142669)

      Actually we don't know the reason. We don't know who turned off the phones. It wasn't sanctioned by the BART board of directors and it's not a part of the policy. The board however doesn't do day-to-day operations.

  • I lived in the San Francisco area and commuted by BART in the late '90s/early '00s, when cell phones were first becoming omnipresent among the tech crowd. On my train ride back from SF to Berkeley there were two brief periods where trains came above ground, which were marked by everyone whipping out their phones and breathlessly relaying status updates to those they were meetings. I remember thinking, "Jeez, I hope they don't put cell reception in the tunnels, this will just be insufferable." Looks like I

  • It seems so. first, their acts have become something to be afraid of from the respect of private interests, with all these leakages.

    Second, their endless leaking sensitive data will make data so trivial that, there wont be any reason to hide most of what we deem sensitive today. This would remove some issues we are meeting in regard to security - like SSN numbers or similar crap being taken as proof of identity (what a stupid thought) and this leading to fraud and so on. If, it was accepted that there wa
  • I'm not saying I agree with either side, but I have to say BART's strategy is clever. They're making regular citizens angry at the protesters that make them wait for hours to be able to go home by forcing the closure of the main 4 stations in San Francisco, hence hurting their cause.

  • San Francisco has a lot of crazies, and sorting out the harmless ones from the dangerous ones is hard. Here's one case. [sfappeal.com] A guy in a wheelchair was slashing the tires of city vehicles with a rock. He was apparently shot by cops with a beanbag gun, and he and one cop were taken to a hospital with non-lethal injuries. There's video from someone across the street. [youtube.com] Excessive force? Perhaps, but subduing someone with a sharp object without getting cut is very tough.

    Here's another case [sfexaminer.com], of a known mentally ill w

Aren't you glad you're not getting all the government you pay for now?

Working...