As the Federal Communications Commission looks into last week's three hour shutdown of mobile phone services on San Francisco's Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART), more protests are expected Monday afternoon.
BART, which carries nearly 350,000 commuters daily, cut some of its San Francisco stations last Thursday in an attempt to disrupt planned protests.
The protest, in response to the July 3 fatal shooting of knife-wielding passenger Charles Hill by BART police, never materialized. It was the second fatal shooting by BART officials in just over two years.
Though the protest did not occur, BART's mobile service cut sparked outrage and the FCC has taken an interest.
FCC spokesman Neil Grace said in an e-mail:
"Any time communications services are interrupted, we seek to assess the situation. 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."
Critics say BART is practicing censorship that would only happen in a country ruled by a dictator and that because 911 services were cut, the event was a threat to public safety. BART argues that it was just trying to keep the trains running and maintain order.
BART spokesman Linton Johnson told the San Francisco Chronicle:
"We're in the business of transporting people from point A to point B safely. We were forced into a gut-wrenching decision on how we were going to stop [the possible Thursday protest], given the propensity of this group to create chaos on the platform."
Upset with the death of Hill and the cutting of underground phone services, the group Anonymous has posted a notice online urging the public to join in a "peaceful protest" at five p.m. Monday at the Civic Center BART.
"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.
Anonymous, a group of hackers who call themselves fighters for free expression, breached a BART website and released the personal information of more than 2,000 customers over the weekend.
The hackers took information from myBART.org, a Web site run by an outside vendor, and published it elsewhere online. Several BART costumer's phone numbers and addresses were released.
BART advised costumers to check www.511.org or their website for more information.
In the latest alert posted online, BART says:
"Please be advised that protesters may attempt to disrupt BART service during the afternoon commute period on Mon, Aug. 15 in downtown San Francisco BART stations. BART may need to close some stations temporarily or make other service adjustments on short notice."