‘Anonymous' Goes After BART

Shutting down cell phones during a protest last week may lead to bigger protests for BART riders Monday.

It could be a bumpy ride on BART Monday. Behind the scenes, thing were already bumpy for BART managers on Sunday.

The group "Anonymous" promised to disrupt all things BART related. That includes a  phone, website, email and fax campaign to disrupt operations, as well as a protest at the Civic Center station at the height of the Monday evening commute.

A BART spokesman acknowledged that the myBART.org website, which is operated by an independent contractor, was hacked Sunday and revealed personal information of users for a time.
"Anonymous" asked its followers to flood the emails and phone numbers of the posted employees as part of the protest.  BART's main Website was not impacted.

"Anonymous" also took credit for changing the opening page of the website of at least one California government agency. Around noon a section of the California Office Of Traffic Safety website showed logos from "Anonymous" instead of the normal information.  OTS spokesman Wayne Ziese said they will try to recover their page Monday, adding the site was put up by an independent contractor to help police agencies keep in contact with news departments about DUI stats.

The organizers of Monday's planned actions are using the Twitter hashtags #MuBARTek, which is a reference to deposed Egyptian President Hosni Mubarek, who reportedly disrupted Internet and wireless communications to stop protests in Egypt. 

This all follows a move by BART last week to temporarily shut down cell phone service in several stations in the City during another protest. BART said it was a precautionary measure. "They were clear in stating they could use mobile devices to organize," spokesman Jim Allison said. He said it still had not been decided if BART would shut down cell phones again Monday.

From Anonymous:

Anonymous will take the following actions over the next 48 hours.

1) We have begun at once 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.

2) Tomorrow, Sunday - August 14, 2011 at High Noon Pacific Time we, Anonymous - will remove from the internet the web site of BART located at www.bart.gov for exactly six hours. That's twice as long as they shut off the cell phones for.

3) On Monday - August 15, 2011 at 5:00 PM Pacific Time there will be a physical protest at the Civic Center Bart Station. Expect us !

We sincerely hope that this series of actions will serve as a warning to BART and every public organization in the USA to NOT engage in this sort of dangerous and human rights violating behavior.

Last week's decision to shut down cell phones was widely criticized across the Bay Area, the country and even got some press overseas. This weekend, State Senator Leland Yee (D-SF) joined the voices of people who blasted BART for shutting off service. 

"I am shocked that BART thinks they can use authoritarian control tactics," said Yee. "BART’s decision was not only a gross violation of free speech rights; it was irresponsible and compromised public safety. Riders need cell phone coverage to call on police and medical personnel during an emergency. How many more lives need to be put at risk because of inappropriate actions by BART officials?"

Yee said he also plans to contact the Federal Communications Commission to request an investigation on the constitutionality of the decision.

Bay City News contributed to this report.

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