The Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) cell phone shutdown has drawn heaps of criticism. Now, hacking collective Anonymous has joined the fray.
On Saturday, Anonymous issued a press release that threatened the following:
- “a massive Black Fax and E-Mail Bomb action, where we will fill every inbox and fax machine at BART with thousands of copies of our message that this outage was unacceptable.”
- “remove from the internet the web site of BART located at www.bart.gov for exactly six hours” starting at Sunday noon PT
- Physically protesting outside the Civic Center Bart Station at Monday 5 p.m. PT
As of 12:57 p.m. PT on Sunday, www.bart.gov is still operating. However, Anonymous did deface mybart.org with its logo. Moreover, it released the user info database of MyBart.gov (“to show that BART doesn't give a sh** about it's [sic] customers and riders”) with an accompanying press release.
BART “violated the people's right to assembly and prevented other bystanders from using emergency services by blocking cell phone signals in order to stop a protest against the BART police murders,” stated Anonymous. (BART did not actually block anything; it shut down underground cell phone communication services it provided to passengers.)
BART’s decision to shut down underground cell phone communications at select stations last Thursday night smacked of a totalitarian government regime, said critics.
The cell phone shut down is being compared to former Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak’s cell phone shutdown on protesters early in 2011 and the dystopian society described in George Orwell’s “1984.”
BART was attempting to clamp down on an unauthorized protest (i.e. without permit) against the fatal shooting of a homeless man by a BART police officer weeks earlier.
As an organization, BART has a sketchy history of power abuses. Back in 2009, a BART police officer fatally shot an unarmed passenger in the back. The police officer resigned and was convicted of involuntary manslaughter.