After the Bay Area Rapid Transit in San Francisco tried to quell an anti-BART protest by shutting down their mobile phone system in their stations, they attracted the attention of the FCC, who will now investigate the matter.
Being a government agency and all, BART has attracted the fury of citizens who argue that first amendement rights were being infringed upon. Speaking to IDG News, FCC spokesperson Neil Grace had the following to say:
“Any time communications services are interrupted, we seek to assess the situation,” said FCC spokesman Neil Grace in an e-mail. “We are continuing to collect information about BART’s actions and will be taking steps to hear from stakeholders about the important issues those actions raised, including protecting public safety and ensuring the availability of communications networks.”
People were attempting to assemble last week in protest to the death of an man who was shot by a BART police officer after walking around with knife last month. But the disabling of the cell towers by BART played a significant role in stifiling that protest.
And the FCC isn’t the only one whose attention BART drew. Anonymous is also getting into the action, hacking the website of a BART vendor and releasing the personal info of 2000 customers. The SF Weekly says Anon had the following to say:
“We are Anonymous, we are your citizens, we are the people, we do not tolerate oppression from any government agency,” the hackers wrote in an online posting. “BART has proved multiple times that they have no problem exploiting and abusing the people.”
BART “stored their members’ information with virtually no security,” the hackers wrote. “Any 8-year-old with an Internet connection could have done what we did to find it. On top of that, none of the info, including the passwords, was encrypted.”
For their part, BART maintains their site is hack-free and they’re doing all they can to protect it, but it looks like they got themselves in for more than they bargained for with their latest stunt. [IDG ]