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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Cellphones blocked in SF to hinder transit protest
By PAUL ELIAS

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Transit officials said Friday that they 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 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.

"A civil disturbance during commute times at busy downtown San Francisco stations could lead to platform overcrowding and unsafe conditions for BART customers, employees and demonstrators," BART officials said in a prepared statement.

The statement noted that it's illegal to demonstrate on the platform or aboard the trains. BART said it has set aside special areas for demonstrations.

The American Civil Liberties Union questioned the tactic.

"Shutting down access to mobile phones is the wrong response to political protests," the ACLU's Rebecca Farmer said in a blog post.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation said on its website that "BART officials are showing themselves to be of a mind with the former president of Egypt, Hosni Mubarak." Mubarak's regime cut Internet and cellphone services in the country for days early this year while trying to squelch protests demanding an end to his authoritarian rule.

BART officials were confident the cellphone disruptions were legal. The demonstration planned Thursday failed to develop.

"We had a commute that was safe and without disruption," said BART spokesman Jim Allison.

The demonstrators were protesting the July 3 shooting of Charles Blair Hill by BART police who claimed Hill came at them with a knife.

A July 11 demonstration disrupted service during the rush-hour commute, prompting the closing of BART's Civic Center station. Several arrests were made.

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And of course ACLU got involved...
blah...
 

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Reverend Coot
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One reason not ta be so dependent on technology.

Now my thought would be they shut down cell communications an somebody has a heart attack on the platform an dies cause nobody can call 911. There be a mighty fine lawsuit in the makin.

To much control of our lives by other folks plain an simple.
 

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The wanderer
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Wow. An old timer like myself can remember when we traveled around town without cell phones and usually came home safe, sound, and alive. Maybe it's good prepper-practice to imagine loss of cell service.

Maybe I should buy a cell phone so I can experience this too! :D

As for BART and the cell phone block, I'm proud of them for having the gumption to do that. I'm sure they were aware of the hassles they'd get from people like the ACLU and others, but they warded off a bigger problem. Kudos to them. :congrat:
 

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Scavenger deluxe
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I don't own a cell phone,the land line is aggravating enough.:p

What do you think they will do to the internet in times of unrest?
Oh,BTW...wasn't our god in chief complaining about Egypt doing the same thing?

F*****g hypocrite.
 

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Seeking The Truth
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Wow. An old timers like myself can remember when we traveled around town without cell phones and usually came home safe, sound, and alive. Maybe it's good prepper-practice to imagine loss of cell service.

Maybe I should buy a cell phone so I can experience this too! :D

As for BART and the cell phone block, I'm proud of them for having the gumption to do that. I'm sure they were aware of the hassles they'd get from people like the ACLU and others, but they warded off a bigger problem. Kudos to them. :congrat:
The ACLU are commy,imo.but this is one time I agree with them.If they can take away their rights,they can ours too.IMO,its just another test .
Who are these kids commiting the acts?
 

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Seeking The Truth
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One reason not ta be so dependent on technology.

Now my thought would be they shut down cell communications an somebody has a heart attack on the platform an dies cause nobody can call 911. There be a mighty fine lawsuit in the makin.

To much control of our lives by other folks plain an simple.
Coot when we were young,their was a pay phone on every corner,now they are gone or not working because thugs have tore them up.
Also we lived in a safer nation than today.Now we live in a nation of fear and chaos.
 

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I am a little teapot
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Meerkat, that's a good point about the pay phones.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Coot when we were young,their was a pay phone on every corner,now they are gone or not working because thugs have tore them up.
Also we lived in a safer nation than today.Now we live in a nation of fear and chaos.
And the few that still remain are wiretapped due to the Patriot Act
Source: Naomi Wolf's: The End of America
 

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Good ole country folk
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We only own a pre-paid cell phone for emergencies while we are on the road.

My question of the hour is: WHat happens when there is wide-spread social disorder in a big city like Detroit when "entitlement" programs are cut? Will the government step in and block cell phone coverage to prevent wide-spread rioting and looting? Then what? Seems like this is just he begining of controlled communications in America--get used to it folks.
 

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Senior Member
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By what authority does a local agency have to turn off radio frequencies controlled by a federal agency? Ends justifies the means?
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
By what authority does a local agency have to turn off radio frequencies controlled by a federal agency? Ends justifies the means?
According to a citation issued January 26, 2011, by the Federal Communications Commission against Comtrex Communications for illegal cell phone jamming, Section 333 of the Communications Act of 1934 states, "[n]o person shall willfully or maliciously interfere with or cause interference to any radio communications of any station licensed or authorized by or under this Act or operated by the United States Government." and Section 302(b) of the Communications Act provides that "[n]o person shall manufacture, import, sell, offer for sale, or ship devices or home electronic equipment and systems, or use devices, which fail to comply with regulations promulgated pursuant to this section."

There's no evidence provided by any BART representative that such legal issues were considered before initiating the cell phone blocking action - BART seems to have just plain went ahead and done it.

For example, BART Police Lt. Andy Alkire told the SF Appeal that the cell phone blocking action was "a great tool to utilize for this specific purpose." But by that, the BART assumption seems to be that it was legal - it wasn't.

This year the FCC has been particularly vocal in warning that cell phone jamming actions are not legal.
 

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The wanderer
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the BART assumption seems to be that it was legal - it wasn't.

This year the FCC has been particularly vocal in warning that cell phone jamming actions are not legal.
Oh wow, I didn't know that. I assumed it would be the right of BART to jam it on their own property. I can see how the government or other entities could start misusing jamming, so I guess I'm glad it's against the law.

I was just thinking about the 'good' side of it, that they stopped a protest that would have interferred with the trains, and would have been a royal pain for people trying to get home from work. Seems like they mostly hurt or inconvenience people who aren't even part of the problem in the first place.
 

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Still waiting for the zombies.
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Oh wow, I didn't know that. I assumed it would be the right of BART to jam it on their own property. I can see how the government or other entities could start misusing jamming, so I guess I'm glad it's against the law.
It all depends on who owns the equipment. In my office we have a cellular repeater due to really poor cell signals inside our building and the fact that most of our sales guys have cell phones and were missing sales calls. So we bought a cellular repeater through our cell phone provider (one of the big ones). They actually comped part of it for us due to our volume but we still paid the majority of it and we own it. It was designed to just provide coverage within our building and that's it. The carrier has us "registered" as a cell site but that's just to cover FCC record keeping rules and in the event there is ever a problem.

Long story short, I could go pull the plug on it anytime I want. I'm not interferring with any public signals by doing so. Now if I tried to transmit and override the signal of a licensed radio station, or go shut them off, I'd be in trouble but since I own the equipment I can do with it what I want.

If BART owned the equipment then they could turn it off if they so desired to. You own a cell phone. You are subject to FCC rules. You can't modify your phone to transmit at more than the approved level. You can't change it to work on different frequencies. You CAN turn it off if you want. Same with privately owned cellular repeaters. They provide it as a courtesy, it's not an entitlement.

However the poster who mentioned the 911 issue does have a valid point. Also BART's concern about safety and the trains speeding by could have also had the trains run slower during that time too.
 
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