On August 11, in what is viewed as a controversial move, BART officials, after learning of another protest, turned off electricity to cellular towers in four BART stations, effectively shutting down communication between protestors. Perhaps because of the lack of cell communication, the August 11 protests never happened.
Of particular interest was the hacktivist group Anonymous’ involvement in the protests. With its publicly stated goal of protecting the rights of the masses against big business and government, Anonymous launched several successful attacks on the BART website (www.mybart.org) as well as other city websites. These sites were defaced and subjected to data breaches that collected private information of citizens using the BART system. Complicating matters more for city officials, Anonymous’ actions were also timed to support and encourage the actions of the public protestors
According the the author, two U.S. society changing events have occurred. First, the government’s use of communication (or lack of) to control the public had been seen, and widely vilified, in other countries but never before in the United States. And second, the author believes this is the first time public protests have been combined with physical attacks (mobs in the BART station) as well as cyber attacks (Anonymous’ defacement and data breach of BART and other government sites). Both changes will undoubtedly ripple through the press a well as the action of government and the public in the coming months. It will be a fascinating time for us all. (More)
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