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back to article Police kill mobile phone service to squelch protest

In response to a threatened protest in its subway system, San Francisco authorities temporarily shut down mobile phone service in the underground stations of the Bay Area Rapid Transit District, known locally as BART. "A civil disturbance during commute times at busy downtown San Francisco stations could lead to platform …

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Also....

Reading from:

http://sfappeal.com/news/2011/08/bart-cell-fcc.php

"According to a statement sent this afternoon, BART did not, as some feared, employ the type of cell phone blocking and jamming equipment expressly forbidden by the FCC.

Instead, they say "BART asked wireless providers to temporarily interrupt service at select BART stations as one of many tactics to ensure the safety of everyone on the platform."

"That means BART did not break that specific FCC rule" says Kevin Bankston, Senior Staff Attorney of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, "but I would hope -- and expect -- that the FCC would have some serious questions for BART. It is in their area of interest." (A spokesperson for the FCC said that they could not offer comment for attribution at this time.)

Bankston's not the only official nonplussed by BART's move. According to Cruise, the VP for the Northern California branch of APCO (the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials - International), a professional organization dedicated to the enhancement of public safety communications, "No agency has the ability to decide who can communicate and who can't. The FCC's rules are really clear on that."

"The California Dept of Corrections doesn't have he ability to restrict cell phone signals for prisoners, so I don't see how BART can for its passengers."

"The carriers' apparent unquestioning willingness to comply with this request, based only on rumors, is very troublesome," says Bankston. "I would expect and hope that the carriers would demand more (from BART) that a rumor before cutting off the ability to communication of thousands."

According to BART Deputy Chief Benson H. Fairow, BART was within their rights to cut off service.

"You have to remember that cell phone reception doesn't naturally make it underground" he said. "This is a service we provide to our customers."

Well, fine and good. But, once you start providing service, people EXPECT continued service. People have dates, appointments, and want to time their next connections. Rather than CUT OFF cell service, how about on such days:

-- designate trains that WILL bypass Embarcadero

-- designate trains that WILL bypass Montgomery

-- designate trains that WILL bypass Powell

-- designate trains that WILL bypass Civic Center

This could reduce the number of people disgorged. Also, BART could re-encode tickets to refuse entry to those not boarding a specifi train. Going to get off at Embarcadero? Re-enter your ticket to be specially encoded, then wait your turn to enter the fair gate area. Trains will run with a larger interval, allowing people time to get to the platform.

Do something similar for eastbound trains. Corral or marshall or reverse the trains near or at South Hayward and at Colma Stations.

Next to last chance to get it right before leaving the East Bay: At Lake Merrit or at Oakland 12th Street

LAST chance to get it right before leaving the East Bay: Oakland West/West Oakland

Next to last chance before leaving the SF stations: Somewhere one station before Embarcadero or other than the train's skip-station.

To correct your overshoot: reverse at the station and head back, or

Flush the empty train, and have it skip a station and this will force agitators to spread to a wider area, losing their movement's appeal. Well, ideally, since most people in SF won't likely engage in the ruckus. Most of the agitator tend to be from out of town, and not terribly large a number. To disrupt service for fewer than 100 agitators is kind of lame, brute, and unimaginative.

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Anonymous Coward

Now what is their core business again?

So instead of disrupting a (free, extra, courtesy) service in their trains, you expect they'd revamp their train schedule, require customers to "re-encode" their tickets, and massively confusing them as well as inconveniencing them? That bites. That bites all of the customers, making them unpopular, and therefore bites their custom. And moving people is their core business. Enabling people moved to blab at their mobile phone handsets while underground is not their core business. Were I BART, I wouldn't fsck around with my schedule for these "fewer than 100 agitators". I'd drop mobe service too, no sweat.

Though I like the idea of artificially "accidentally" delaying SMS messages for an hour or so, or maybe some random time between one half and one and a half hours. SMS messages are not guaranteed to be delivered promptly, even though most are.

And of course one can ask whether disrupting "planned" protests isn't worse press than just letting it happen. The latter case might see the thing fizzle and end up being wholly unremarkable. Now, however, they've made themselves look like they're willing to quell dissent as well as possibly shuffle wrongful deaths caused by their corpocop service under the carpet.

But even so, turning off underground coverage is a far smarter thing to do against such a vague and nebulous "threat", if it was all that serious to begin with anyway. I've seen other metro systems shut entire stations for less.

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BART owns cell system?

Perhaps BART owns the cell system that's on its platform. Therefore, it's easy for them to shut down their own equipment. What would be disturbing is if specific messages could be filtered, but I suppose that already exists within the system.

Remember, in the US it's not the right to use someone else's media to disseminate your opinion, it's the right to be barred from using your own media. So until the protesters use their own cell system (which theoretically could be done) I suppose what was done is constitutional.

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When BART does this, the rides should be FREE

during the window of shutdown, across ALL BART stations.

Shutting down BART - controlled cell service probably means the MUNI riders below the BART line were affected as well.

BART should make such rids originating at or ending in those stations FREE, or it should pay for the cell service it deprived.

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Turn it off

Maybe they should just turn it off and leave it off. Problem solved in your world. Now they are not depriving anyone of anything according to you.

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Anonymous Coward

Threatened?

"In response to a threatened protest..."

Don't you mean a PLANNED protest?

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Great DOS potential

I propose a demo tomorrow throughout the city of London

The MET will now shut down all mobile phones in London for the weekend !

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title

Alternatively, you may find your front door being kicked in at stupid o'clock a.m.

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Anonymous Coward

Coming soon to a party conference near you

A party spokesman said: "A civil disturbance during delegate arrival times at busy party conference venues could lead to foyer overcrowding and unsafe conditions for party hacks, press-ganged cheerleaders and those who loathe us,"

Cameron or Blair, blue or red, should "Call Me Dave" get his anti riot Blackberry/Yahoo messenger shutdown measures through, I have no doubt the police will be just as eager to quell legitimate dissent at the behest of politicians as they are looters. We've been warned.

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Anonymous Coward

Adversely affected?

Are you sure about that? No more "WHAT? NO I CAN'T HEAR YOU. YES, I'M ON THE TRAIN. WHAT? WHAT DID YOU SAY?"

Can they do this EVERY day?

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Anonymous Coward

Call for apology

Personally, what I'm most disturbed is the attitude that a protest is something that needs to be stopped. Protest is one of the fundamental mechanisms of freedom and democracy, and as such should be protected, until and unless the protest turns violent. Riot police should be deployed, but ONLY ON STANDBY, and the disruption to mobile service is an underhand tactic, against democracy, that calls for the City of San Franciscos deepest apologies.

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Meh

re: Call for apology

"Protest is one of the fundamental mechanisms of freedom and democracy, and as such should be protected, until and unless the protest turns violent."

Can we not also throw in an "unless dangerous"? It has been years since I have been to San Fransisco and I have never been to their subway system, but I suspect it to be more or less like other subways. Heavy trains passing at short intervals from dark tunnels into underground stations. These station are usually dangerously crowded in the busy hours, and what keeps them safe is that people calmly concentrate on minding their own business which is to get to or from work (away from and to family). Add a few hundred angry muppets and the situation is not safe anymore.

This brings me to the second point. The right to protest is fundamental to democracy, you are right about that. But it is not a right to protest anywhere at anytime at any cost. If you bring a couple of subway stations to a halt because of unsafe conditions you effectively bring an entire city to halt. Since if you jam the entire system the surplus commuters will then jam all other forms of transportation. It isn't a democratic right to hold a society hostage.

It just isn't.

There is a reason in most countries you have to ask the police for permission to hold a demonstration. In turn the police are not allowed to say no, and indeed are obligated to some degree facilitate such things. Valid reasons to decline are of course public safety etc. And they rarely say no. The evidence for that is when you see fringe groups with strong anti governmental views, basically hate groups, protesting in the street with a large escort of police around them. And you realize that the police is actually there to protect them from the public and not to contain them.

Doesn't BART have some office building you can protest outside? Jamming one sidewalk or street is something the society should be able to tolerate and cope with. Jamming a city is a symptom of the "I got rights."-generation.

That said, I am deeply troubled by the ease communications can be shut down. While I say that underground train stations is not the place to demonstrate, I also think that controlling communications is an extremely dangerous road to go down.

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::sighs:: I'm getting sick of the "rent-a-mob" protesters ...

I've seen the video. He DID throw the knife.

Bottom line: If a cop tells you to sit down, keep your hands in sight, and wait for them to sort things out ... you'd better do exactly that. If you're innocent, you'll walk away unhurt.

Example: that stupid-ass Oscar Grant. He sat down, then got up again. Not once, not twice, but THREE times. And got killed for being stupid[1]. And the idiots[2] blame the POLICE? In my mind, they showed incredible restraint in a very tense situation ...

[1] No, I don't think deadly force was indicated in the Oscar Grant situation ... but as a guy who has fairly extensive firearms training, I can see how such a horrible accident could occur ... ESPECIALLY when a complete moron wasn't listening to law enforcement.

[2] Note that most of the folks arrested in the "knife thrower" killing protests are the same rent-a-mob that protests Redwood cutting (at least in good weather), trashed Seattle awhile back, hung out outside the Marine recruitment office in Berkeley, protested the cutting of ~40 year old oak trees to make room for earthquake-proofing the stadium at Cal Berkeley, and are protesting the removal of an old, hollow, about to fall over anyway Oak in Menlo Park (to make room for water redundancy, in the event of a major quake on the San Andreas[3] taking out the primary pipes[4]). These folks protest anything, without thinking.

[3] When, not if.

[4] Me, I'd prefer water within 48 hours of a major quake than the survival of a dying, past it's life-span, oak tree in an obscure neighborhood in Menlo Park ... But the protesters are usually citizens of states other than California.

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FAIL

And I've seen the video too...

... there are plenty of copies of it available on YouTube etc and the officer shot a man in the back who was lying face down on the floor.

The officer claimed, apparently, that he was trying to use his Taser, well if you can't tell the difference between a Taser and a firearm, you shouldn't be allowed to use either! (You claim "fairly extensive firearms training", can you tell the difference?")

As for "If a cop tells you to sit down, keep your hands in sight, and wait for them to sort things out ... you'd better do exactly that. If you're innocent, you'll walk away unhurt." are you saying that if you *don't* do that then you're liable to be shot just because you've not done as you're told? Does your "fairly extensive firearms training" justify the use of deadly force in such a situation? Is it justified if someone is "being a stupid ass"? If so, I know a lot of other people you can shoot.

And finally I get sick of people (especially the authorities) trying to block, ban or disrupt lawful protest or dismissing anyone who wants to object to the unnecessary use of deadly force as "rent a mob" simply because they don't agree with them.

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@Graham Marsden

Firstly, the video I was commenting on was the drunkard throwing the knife at the cop, not the Oscar Grant shooting, which I used as an example later in my commentary.

"if you can't tell the difference between a Taser and a firearm, you shouldn't be allowed to use either! (You claim "fairly extensive firearms training", can you tell the difference?")"

Pick a belt holstered handgun in a split second under duress. I wasn't there. Were you?

"are you saying that if you *don't* do that then you're liable to be shot just because you've not done as you're told?"

No, I'm telling you, in excruciating detail, that if you are an idiot when an authority figure with access to firearms tells you to "stay put", and you choose NOT to "stay put", you are likely to remove yourself from the gene pool. Why people have issues with this basic principle is beyond me ... Blaming the cop is contraindicated.

"Does your "fairly extensive firearms training" justify the use of deadly force in such a situation?"

Did you read mine for content?

"And finally I get sick of people (especially the authorities) trying to block, ban or disrupt lawful protest or dismissing anyone who wants to object to the unnecessary use of deadly force as "rent a mob" simply because they don't agree with them."

Oh. I see. You didn't read mine for content. Care to re-read it and try again? I know that that would require thought, but even us commentards live in hope that someone, somewhere, is paying attention ...

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Thumb Down

Duress?

"Pick a belt holstered handgun in a split second under duress. I wasn't there. Were you?"

THE GUY WAS HANDCUFFED AND LYING ON HIS STOMACH.

"No, I'm telling you, in excruciating detail, that if you are an idiot when an authority figure with access to firearms tells you to "stay put", and you choose NOT to "stay put","

These are the same cops who tase people for minutes on end while 'ordering' them to stop screaming and lie still. In any event, it seems odd that 'idiocy' is subject to summary execution and rape, murder, etc. are not...

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Boffin

@jake

Ok, fine, I got the wrong person, although given the way that you referred to Oscar Grant, even on re-reading I can see why I didn't think you were referring to Charles Hill because you start with "He did throw the knife" and then refer to Grant, not Hill.

If you have a choice between a Taser and a Handgun *even if* under duress, wouldn't your "fairly extensive firearms training" suggest that you make sure, especially if "under duress" *which* weapon you're using *before* you discharge it?

"I'm telling you, in excruciating detail, that if you are an idiot when an authority figure with access to firearms tells you to "stay put", and you choose NOT to "stay put", you are likely to remove yourself from the gene pool. Why people have issues with this basic principle is beyond me ... Blaming the cop is contraindicated."

Because the "basic principle" is that you *DO NOT* use a firearm on someone *UNLESS* you wish to *KILL* that person. "Fairly extensive firearms training" should tell you that "in excruciating detail". Being an "idiot" or not doing what an authority figure with access to firearms says is *not* a capital crime, nor does it justify the use of deadly force.

And, yes, I did read your post for content, probably more carefully than you did when you wrote your rant that wandered off into claims that "most of the folks arrested in the "knife thrower" killing protests are the same rent-a-mob that protests Redwood cutting (at least in good weather), trashed Seattle awhile back". (Got any evidence for this? Any cites? Names?)

Even if they *are* the same people, so what? Are they only allowed to protest *one* issue? Was their protest illegal? Did you agree with Syria and Libya cutting off internet and mobile phone access to stop protests? If not, why agree with it in this case because you consider these people to be "rent a mob"? (Who is "renting" them? Is announcing by mobile device that there is going to be a protest "renting a mob? Why is that different from any other way of organising a protest?)

Care to try again to answer my points?

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@scarshapedstar

"THE GUY WAS HANDCUFFED AND LYING ON HIS STOMACH."

You can yell it as much as you like, but no, he was not. He was resisting arrest, and not yet cuffed. And again, please note that he got up off his arse a THIRD time after being told to sit down and shut up. Why is this simple fact so difficult for people to comprehend? If he had been cooperative with the police, he'd be alive today. This is fact. He basically begged for the cops to get violent with him, and then escalated it, further agitating the cops who were already in a difficult situation.

Remember, cops are only human. They make mistakes. Make their job easy, and they will make fewer mistakes. Or, in the vernacular, if you don't want it, don't bring it ...

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Silver badge

"He was resisting arrest, and not yet cuffed"

Presuming we're talking about Grant here, no, he wasn't cuffed, however he *was* lying face down. The officer decided, supposedly, that he was going to Tase him, but pulled his pistol instead and discharged it.

The thing is, even if he had drawn the Taser *why* did he feel it necessary to Tase someone who was lying face down and *NOT* a threat? Perhaps to punish him for "not cooperating with the Police"? Is that a legitimate use of a Taser, do you think?

And, once again, you seem to think that this guys death was his own fault. Why is it so difficult for you to understand that not "sitting down and shutting up" is not a capital crime?

Your final paragraph reminds me of the old joke "Help the Police, beat yourself up"...

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Anonymous Coward

As a guy ...

" ... but as a guy who has fairly extensive firearms training ... "

In what capacity? Military? Law enforcement? Why did you have this training and what occasion have you had to draw on it? How much experience do you have of handling a loaded weapon in high pressure environments? How much experience do you have of handling a loaded weapon around unarmed civilians?

"Bottom line: If a cop tells you to sit down, keep your hands in sight, and wait for them to sort things out ... you'd better do exactly that. If you're innocent, you'll walk away unhurt."

Or possibly you won't.

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@Graham Marsden

"*why* did he feel it necessary to Tase someone who was lying face down and *NOT* a threat?"

Because the stupid fuck, Oscar Grant, got up for a THIRD time, and refused to listen to authority when they finally tried to arrest him, after being lenient the first couple times the dumb-ass got off his arse after being told to "stay put" . Do you really not understand this part of the equation?

"Why is it so difficult for you to understand that not "sitting down and shutting up" is not a capital crime?"

No, it's not a capital crime to protest. But in a one-off, high-stress situation (which this was), not listening to the cops is a fucking stupid thing to do. And might be fatal. Kinda my point, no?

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@AC 21:38

"In what capacity? Military? Law enforcement?"

Yes.

"Why did you have this training and what occasion have you had to draw on it? How much experience do you have of handling a loaded weapon in high pressure environments? How much experience do you have of handling a loaded weapon around unarmed civilians?"

I could tell you the details, but then I'd have to kill you ... My last military post was training scout-snipers, my current law enforcement roll is training dogs (and their handlers).

"Or possibly you won't."

Yes, you will. If you listen to professionals who are doing their job, you'll be just fine after all the dust has settled.

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I get what you're saying...

"in a one-off, high-stress situation (which this was), not listening to the cops is a fucking stupid thing to do. And might be fatal. Kinda my point, no?"

What you're arguing is that given that police officers are unsuited or inadequately trained to deal with high-stress situations, it's fucking stupid not to listen to them because they are quite likely to shoot you and possibly kill you. Better to sit down and shut up because you have to assume they're poorly trained at best, vindictive idiots at worst.

Thanks for clearing that up.

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History

"If you listen to professionals who are doing their job, you'll be just fine after all the dust has settled."

Jean Charles de Menezes.

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Anonymous Coward

@Jake

"I could tell you the details, but then I'd have to kill you ... "

You use that one in bars?

"My last military post was training scout-snipers, "

So ... not law enforcement then. There's a reason we have separate police and military. Their training is very different. For example, a patrolling police officer should have the safety on.

So ... not civilian facing, not high pressure. What relevant training and / or experience have you had? Currently you sound like ... an experienced teacher.

"my current law enforcement roll is training dogs (and their handlers)."

Yeah. Teaching.

"Yes, you will. If you listen to professionals who are doing their job, you'll be just fine after all the dust has settled."

As someone with extensive combat experience (?) you'll know just how ridiculous a remark that is.

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@jake

Re [1]; I didn't know stupidity was a capital offense in the Greater Amerikan Reich.

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Anonymous Coward

@Jake

I don't know about you, but every single one of the videos I've watched quite clearly shows him face down on the floor with one officer grabbing his hair while kneeling on his neck and the other officer pulling his arms behind his back before standing up, drawing his gun and shooting him in the back.

A classic police execution!

The one thing I've learnt in this life is that you should never believe the police won't harm you even if you do exactly what they say. I've known them to carry out too many extra-judicial killings to be lulled into that kind of complacency.

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Big Brother

Walk like an Egyptian

plain text

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Silver badge

That's why the public needs their own systems

I mean we are slowly getting towards the stage, when some subversive mobile operator can operate out of a non-suspicious backpack.

Alternatively, many mobile phones have wifi on. It should be possible to build a meshed network.

The main problem which is holding that back is that current social networks are highly centralized. There's no need to cut off the internet, when you can just send a police squad into the data-centers and confiscate the servers.

So what would now be important would be a social network which actually runs on your own devices, not some cloud somewhere.

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Megaphone

"current social networks are highly centralized"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diaspora_%28software%29

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WTF?

No mention?

" those warnings made no mention of a mobile-phone service shutdown."

Of course not! The protestors would have made alternative arrangements.

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Bronze badge

"Protesters would have mader alternative arrangements"

Please read this through before down-modding me again! I'm not making up a spewing crap for the heck of it. I USE BART every day to get to and from work. Well, about 98% of the time if I don't get a ride via a coworker or the express bus. For me, that's about $3.70 each way or $7.40 a day x 20 days a month. That is $140.80 a month. I've used BART for 4 YEARS and counting, and we deserve better than dirty, noisy, occasionally dirty trains. Tokyo's transit is subjected to millions of rides a DAY and is by far STILL cleaner, more efficient, and a better ride. I used it for 3 months, so I know.

As for BART and the protests and cell shut-down...

And, what about the RIDERS?! Don't WE get to have sufficient infor to make alternative arrangements? People who are accustomed to texting or dealing with banking issues after work via mobile don't expect to be blindsided by service disruptions.

Granted, BART OWNS the subterannean antenna, but it started service which people take for granted that is carrier-provided or subsidized. Lots of people could end up on a train, stranded for 30 minutes to an hour or longer. BART's failure to alert riders to this fact that BART can and WILL kill service means riders end up detained or falsely arrested just so BART can collect rider revenues.

If you KNEW a protest planned for a given day was to happen, and BART was going to shut down cell traffic, would you ride? You might try to take street cars or the LRV above underground. You might take a taxi or carpool. BART already had for YEARS shut down the below-ground toilets in stations and, UNLIKE CALTRAIN, BART cars have no toilets. Granted, a different kind of ridership exists on CALTRAIN and that is a pay-to-enter system, but on the honor system. BART riders include numerous homeless and non-homeless who choose to sully the seats and more. Riding BART is noisy - probably as loud as on an aircraft carrier flight deck (not right next to the engines, mind you, but maybe 30 feet from the engines), and thefts aboard the cars occur.

So long as BART subjects peopel to no toiliets, regularly dirty/sticky seats, NOISY trains, and occasional fatalities at the hands of its police force (not evil, just making bad decisions or having very bad luck, and, how many fatalities within the BART system were at the hands of non-police??? ), then BART OWES IT to the public to declare that it will kill cell service during riots or protests in its stations where it owns the antenna. This way, people can choose to ride elsewhere.

Otherwise, WE, the PEOPLE need to fund an antenna placement that penetrates BART so that BART cannot imperil the public. Imperil? Well, if a roving mob ran through the stations with cans of gas, and no one was able to text into the station to friends they JUST left waving goodbye to, and if in the chaos BART couldn't restore texting/voice service fast enough, and if 1, 2, or some number of people were burned or just trampled in the exiting stampede, then not only will the perps be at fault, but so will BART.

Maybe people should just give up on BART, take the AC Transit commuter and express buses, and cripple BART financially until BART manages its income stream better toward the PUBLIC and less to powerful cliques in its ranks.

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WTF?

Whiners...

I know SF denizens have a reputation for being pretentious twats, but some of these comments are ridiculous. The job of the BART is to transport you from A to B, not to encourage your fondleslab onanism.

The BART supplies underground cells as a courtesy service. Mobile reception is not a constitutional right! If the idiots at EFF want to make something of it, all BART have to do is pull the service permanently.

I'd be interested to know which stations/lines were affected, and how long would a commuter have been without reception in the worst case. I have a feeling it would not have been *that* long...

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@Ed-H

Some SF residents are indeed pretentious twats. However, please note that most of the folks arrested in such protests (on both sides of The Bay) are not actually residents of the State of California, much less the Bay Area. Those of us who actually live here wish they would go away permanently, as they have absolutely nothing useful to say, and at the top of their lungs.

The "critical mess" bicyclistatards are another group of loud, annoying twats that should go away and leave the rest of us alone ...

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Alert

The real significance of the article...

... is not in BART and their police service. It's that somebody's actually doing what Blighty was contemplating doing during the recent riots. Technically it's easy to do. But should we want it?

Note that Egypt did turn off phone- and internetworks and that ticked off the oh-so-righteous western countries something fierse. It really got their goat. And now? The plod is clamouring for the same here!

And this here private company is doing the same. Waitaminute, it's bart.gov, not bart.com. That's right, that's a government agency right enough. Turning off phone networks.

I've argued before that phone service is not their core business. And that remains true. But they're also a dotgov, and that does put a bit of a different spin on things. They're doing what the USoA government condemned the Egyptian government for, and with far less cause.

So we're back to the fundamental question: Disregard the core business argument. What's this with governments and blocking communications? Is that acceptable? Why? Why not? Discuss.

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Facepalm

Damnit the two situations are not sufficiently similar for them to be easily comparable.

It's not the same, though.

Over here the plod want the right to tell $TELCO to cease operations in a given area. That would mean forcing $TELCO to shut down its own stations for a given area as per uk.gov instructions.

As I understand it, the situation with the BART was that in their stations they happen to have installed their own cells that allow commuters to get access to $US_TELCO's networks. When the protest happened, the BART officials shut off these cells. This was only a problem if you were below ground and dependent on the BART-provided cells for access. And, well, if you haven't actually signed a contract for provision of a service anywhere, nobody's obliged to give you anything.

The only way you could compare the recent situation in London to that in SF would be if the riots were all based in Underground stations and made use of a currently-non-existent service provided by TFL to let commuters on the Tube get access to commercial telco networks.

I'm concerned about the double-standard at play here, but it's important to note the distinction between "Compelling a telco to shut off its service" and "shutting off a complimentary access point to a third-party service". They are not the same thing and there's no good reason for them to be governed by the same set of rules.

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Windows

BART??!!

Gordon Bennett, when I once went to 'Frisco to be trained at Nicolet Paratronics, I didn't want to drive. Busy city, and I was barely out of my nappies (driving-experience-wise).

People in the office said "Use Bart". They didn't explain further.

I somehow got it in my mind "Bart" was an old git living in a shed, who'd give me a lift in his pickup in exchange for a bottle of whisky... Well, I was a kid then...

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title

This is always the thing when fighting with or against government or government connected organizations.

Much like with the rioting around the world alot of it was left to go only so that the police could crack down on law abiding citizens. Police are ordered to stand down and do nothing while the bottom feeds rummage society and after a few days the police step in.

They do this because largely those at the bottom have nothing to lose and if the police go after them the police may meet their matches however by waiting a few days and letting alot of distraction occur and interest to fizzle out it allows them to later implement more control over the society (which will never trickle down to the bottom feeders).

I could reference several instances where the authorities will use the utilities as a leverage tool to throw the situation into their court.

Authorities in the states have shutdown power to entire blocks when police chase perps into apartment or other buildings. That power shutdown affects a large amount of people and you can't tell me how having power is going to give the criminal an upper hand but tell it to police as your power goes out. They will shut off your gas and electric if you don't pay your taxes (even if you pay your utilities).

Nasa and others have worked to cellphone jam areas and we all know just how easy it is to do so you can never count on your cellphone to be your connection to the outside world. Much with the verizon strikes in the US it appears you can't count on your landline either.

So while the US government engages in wars around the world the whitehouse still have power and phone service. If you engage in what some would deem to be illegal or questionable acts around the world I don't think you'll have the same.

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Big Brother

Dissent Is Powerless.

You are a drone. You will not deviate from being a drone. You will do as you are told. You will be grateful to us for allowing you to work. You will not protest. You will be kept in a state of fear. You will be punished for any dissent. Dissent Is Powerless.

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Yelling "Fire!" in a crowded auditorium is prohibited speech.

Yelling "Fire!" in a crowded auditorium can lead to a stampede and death to the customers in the auditorium.

Thus, Yelling "Fire!" in such a situation is prohibited and is NOT protected free speech.

Neither is speech designed to create riots, crime, vandalism, violence, and public mayhem.

Shutting down such speech is the correct thing to do.

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@dssf

You do know that bart is under muni right ? Cell phone service i s not a right.BART got the cell phone companies to put equipment in the BART system to give you cell service. They can at any point in time tell them to remove their equipment .

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The hidden threat.

OK, BART provide a cellphone service within their underground stations, for the benefit of customers, and people are saying they can shut it off whenever they wish.

What if somebody collapses? Do you try to use your cellphone, or do you try and find a fixed phone?

Maybe BART are lucky they don't have an ambulance-chasing lawyer calling on them?

(I know people in the UK who don't bother with a landline telephone. Maybe they get their internet through the cable-TV system.. Mr. Cameron, I hope your scheme will still allow emergency calls to be made through the mobile networks.)

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When nature calls

you do what comes naturally. If someone collapses, you pull the emergency break, the train stops at the next station, where emergency personell will likely already be waiting, just like when you still had your cell phone available, because you don't call emergency services when you're on the BART, or riding the tube, or in the Paris metro. You push those magical buttons marked "in case of emergency, push this magical button and talk to the voice". Cell phones are a luxury. Also, completely irrelevant when it comes to transit system emergencies. Reality check: 1.

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re: "The hidden threat"...

Pull the emergency lever. (Have you ever travelled on public transport?).

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Not Just a Demonstration

If they shut off the phone service simply to prevent a protest, to prevent a group from peacefully communicating its grievances, then I can understand the concern.

But the group calls itself "No Justice, no BART", and a previous protest disrupted service. So it wasn't just a protest they were acting to prevent: it was interference in the right of commuters to get to work on time or get home from work without unnecessary delays. This is the primary service which BART provides; being able to use one's phone on the train is not much use if you can't even get on the train, and it's a poor substitute if the train can't go anywhere.

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FAIL

But surely...

Cameron: "So we are working with the police, the intelligence services and industry to look at whether it would be right to stop people communicating via these Web sites and services when we know they are plotting violence, disorder and criminality."

Surely, if the police KNOW somebody is plotting those things, they have an arrestable offence. So they could arrest the conspirators without the silly little PR man making silly headline grabbing speeches. Oh, hang on, he's reducing the numbers of police...

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Damn right!

I well remember back in the 80's we never had any riots at all, because we didn't have the technology to organise them!

Ban this sick filth! We need to get the people back under control and shutting down tech networks is the way to do it as it gaurantees people will never be able to communicate!

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Protest *for* someone drawing a knife on a police officer?!

WTF?! Draw a knife on an armed cop, what do you expect? Zero sympathy. Cops do have Tasers, but it's *their* call whether to use them in a self-defence situation.

And to all those protesters: Charles Hill was a drunk homeless guy. How much would you have cared about him in life? You'd have stepped over him and looked the other way. Fucking hypocrites.

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Tase yourself

Surely if you are kneeling on someone then tase him you are going to tase yourself as well. Looks like the cop was definately thick enough to be allowed on the police force in any case. You can't fail them for them.

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My 2p's worth...

Hopefully it didn't happen, but suppose someone within one of these cell blackout zones suffered a heart attack, but help couldn't be summoned because of the lack of cell coverage, and the person ended up dead. I imagine it could be a rather interesting time in court for the railway people.

As for police with guns (which seems to have come up as a side-topic on this one) I believe that they should not be armed, other than in special circumstances. I travel to the US quite a bit (my other half is from there) and I am dismayed to see that even the people checking the passports of people from incoming international flights are armed. I honestly believe that the US should sort out its gun problem with the aim of eventually getting to the situation where regular police do not need to be armed with deadly weapons. Of course it will almost certainly never happen.

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