SF transit blocks cellphones to hinder protest
By PAUL ELIAS
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Transit officials blocked cellphone reception in San Francisco train stations for three hours to disrupt planned demonstrations over a police shooting.
Officials with the Bay Area Rapid Transit system, better known as BART, said Friday that they turned off electricity to cellular towers in four stations from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday. The move was made after BART learned that protesters planned to use mobile devices to coordinate a demonstration on train platforms.
The tactic drew comparisons to those used by the former president of Egypt to squelch protests demanding an end to his authoritarian rule. Authorities there cut Internet and cellphone services in the country for days earlier this year.
"BART officials are showing themselves to be of a mind with the former president of Egypt, Hosni Mubarak," the Electronic Frontier Foundation said on its website.
The American Civil Liberties Union criticized the tactic, saying on its blog that it was the "wrong response to political protests."
BART officials were confident the cellphone disruptions were legal. They said in a statement that it's illegal to demonstrate on the platform or aboard the trains, and that it has set aside special areas for demonstrations.Continued...
Ah the "Free Speech Zones" you cannot exercise your first amendment right as per the constitution!!
At least muggers and robbers will be safe to know that no one can call for help while riding on train!!
God knows we cannot allow the citizens to use their video phones to witness any more cops murdering citizens on the train platforms either!! Bart Police shooting in Oakland KTVU report http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IKy-WSZMklc