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To defuse 'flash' protest, BART cuts riders' cell service. Is that legal?
Christian Science Monitor ^ | August 12, 2011 | Patrik Jonsson

Posted on 08/12/2011 6:21:11 PM PDT by tje

The decision by Bay Area Rapid Transit officials to cut off cellphone service Thursday evening – to forestall a planned protest – raises a fundamental question: Do Americans have a basic right to digital free speech or to digitally organized assembly?

Because July protests against BART police shootings had turned violent, BART officials took the unusual step to protect public safety, they said. The tactic may have worked: No protests took place Thursday night at BART stations.

Temporarily shutting down cell service and beefing up police patrols were "great tool[s] to utilize for this specific purpose," BART police Lt. Andy Alkire told Bay City News Friday. The protests, planned for sometime between 4 and 8 p.m. in transit stations, would likely have disrupted service for many of the 341,000 daily BART passengers.

(Excerpt) Read more at csmonitor.com ...


TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Culture/Society; Government; US: California
KEYWORDS: 1stamendment; bart; bigbrother; blackout; cellservice; comblackout; communications; disruptedservice; disruption; fascism; flashmob; freespeech; righttoassemble; sanfrancisco; sf; totalitarianism
It's a brave new world we live in...
1 posted on 08/12/2011 6:21:14 PM PDT by tje
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To: tje

How dare they stop a riot!

They should be sued.

lol


2 posted on 08/12/2011 6:26:04 PM PDT by GeronL (The Right to Life came before the Right to Happiness)
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The FReepathon Is 43 Days Old

If We Don't Meet Our Budget This Is Your Booby Prize

Click The Pic To Donate

3 posted on 08/12/2011 6:26:17 PM PDT by DJ MacWoW (America! The wolves are here! What will you do?)
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To: tje

Too bad that some segments of the population have been abusing their access to electronic messaging to create mischief and destruction.

What if the powers that be decided to selectively terminate service depending on caller ID?

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/2762991/posts


4 posted on 08/12/2011 6:28:13 PM PDT by thecodont
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To: thecodont

I’ve been wondering how that can be done.. All in all not a good thing..


5 posted on 08/12/2011 6:31:43 PM PDT by tje
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To: thecodont

I’ve been wondering how that can be done.. All in all not a good thing..


6 posted on 08/12/2011 6:31:45 PM PDT by tje
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To: tje

Typical Government service. Give the people free cell phones then cut them off...


7 posted on 08/12/2011 6:32:54 PM PDT by Rebelbase
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To: tje

Cell service is a constitutional right?

Several years ago a court case came up proclaiming that phone service was a right, final result ... you can turn off phone service (for none payment) with the exception that 911 access must be maintained. This was for residential phone service; don’t know how this will affect mobile service.


8 posted on 08/12/2011 6:33:07 PM PDT by doc1019 (You do not need a parachute to skydive. You only need a parachute to skydive twice.)
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To: tje
Funny, this raises some of the same issues as the atheist bus decision thread I posted a while ago.

If BART can disable mobile phone service because they fear violence may erupt from a assembly of people related to one particular issue (in this case police brutality), might they do the same to diffuse other assemblies such as support for a candidate for public office or a religious rally they believe might get out of hand or draw counter-demonstrators.

If Christians want to rally on the train or downtown, could the transit provider or the city shut off mobile service to stop the Christians from organizing and Muslims from organizing a counter-demonstration because they fear Muslims might be provoked and become violent?

Sounds to me like the same kinds of tactics a lot of totalitarian governments use to stop citizens from protesting and trying to gain freedom and democracy.
9 posted on 08/12/2011 6:37:51 PM PDT by LonelyCon
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To: doc1019

If you have a cell phone 911 should work whether or not you have service.


10 posted on 08/12/2011 6:38:49 PM PDT by ThomasThomas ( Congressmen should wear uniforms like NASCAR drivers, so we can identify their corporate sponsors.)
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To: tje

BART action not gonna fly.


11 posted on 08/12/2011 6:40:19 PM PDT by LurkedLongEnough
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To: GeronL

Since cutting cell phone service stops rioters, then maybe we should rid the country of guns to stop gun violence.

The cell phones aren’t the problem.


12 posted on 08/12/2011 6:42:45 PM PDT by goodwithagun (My gun has killed fewer people than Ted Kennedy's car.)
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To: doc1019
"...you can turn off phone service (for none payment) with the exception that 911 access must be maintained."

But, according to at least this source, this was exctly what was done.

13 posted on 08/12/2011 6:44:37 PM PDT by n230099 ("When no one knows who is armed...everyone is.")
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To: doc1019

Cell service is a constitutional right?

125 years ago could the government come into your house and smash your printing press? 50 years ago could the government come into your house and remove your telephone?

This will not end well for the freedom of speach.


14 posted on 08/12/2011 6:44:57 PM PDT by steveab (When was the last time someone tried to sell you a CO2 induced climate control system for your home?)
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To: goodwithagun

I’m fine with that, as long as you can get guns out of the hands of criminals first.


15 posted on 08/12/2011 6:45:38 PM PDT by doc1019 (You do not need a parachute to skydive. You only need a parachute to skydive twice.)
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To: tje
Is that legal?

No it is not legal per the FCC. To jam cell phones, you have to transmit 'white noise' on the frequencies used by the cell phones. Cell phone companies purchase the licenses for cell phones to operate, therefore if you jam the phones the cell phone companies can sue. Plus there is the unintended consequence of jamming phones that are trying to dial a 911 emergency.

16 posted on 08/12/2011 6:46:29 PM PDT by Traveler59 ( Truth is a journey, not a destination.)
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To: ThomasThomas
"If you have a cell phone 911 should work whether or not you have service."

You'd still have to have a cell signal. It appears that the city's approach was, probably necessarily, ham-handed in that they simply shut off the equipment. They have no access to the actual carrier's multiplexing equipment where they could in a more elegant manner turn off the exact services they wanted to. Hence the 911 interruption. I doubt if this is over...a significant test case may come from it.

17 posted on 08/12/2011 6:49:51 PM PDT by n230099 ("When no one knows who is armed...everyone is.")
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To: tje
I’ve been wondering how that can be done.

http://www.globalgadgetuk.com/

Comes in handy at movie theaters when the person behind me attempts to narrate the entire movie to his buddies. Cuts him off in under 10 seconds and leaves him with a "Out of Service Area" until I turn the jammer off.

18 posted on 08/12/2011 6:52:06 PM PDT by Traveler59 ( Truth is a journey, not a destination.)
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To: tje

To me the solution is to leave the service, but bring as much police force as necessary that is ready and willing to use their guns.


19 posted on 08/12/2011 7:01:09 PM PDT by GOP Poet (Obama is an OLYMPIC failure.)
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To: doc1019; goodwithagun
goodwithagun: Since cutting cell phone service stops rioters, then maybe we should rid the country of guns to stop gun violence.

doc1019:I'm fine with that, as long as you can get guns out of the hands of criminals first.

To doc1019: WTH??? I thought there was a RKBA. Period.

Explain your answer.

20 posted on 08/12/2011 7:21:10 PM PDT by Ken H
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To: tje

Do people have the right to use commercial wireless services (that cross state lines btw) to coordinate possible illegal activity? Does the BART have the right to curtail unauthorized electronic communication from their premises? Is use of a phone “a right”? So many questions...


21 posted on 08/12/2011 7:21:41 PM PDT by SpaceBar
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To: SpaceBar

Electronic Frontier Foundation weighs in: “BART Pulls a Mubarak in San Francisco”

http://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2011/08/bart-pulls-mubarak-san-francisco


22 posted on 08/12/2011 7:24:06 PM PDT by thecodont
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To: doc1019
"I’m fine with that, as long as you can get guns out of the hands of criminals first."

WTF? With a belief like that, you don't belong on this forum. FR is about freedom, liberty and our Constitution. Just what part of our Second Amendment do you not understand?

23 posted on 08/12/2011 7:25:42 PM PDT by Buffalo Head (Illigitimi non carborundum)
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To: Ken H

So, you are saying that everyone, including criminals should have the right to carry arms? Or get rid of all guns in the US? If the later is the case, how do you get rid of guns owned by criminals?


24 posted on 08/12/2011 7:28:22 PM PDT by doc1019 (You do not need a parachute to skydive. You only need a parachute to skydive twice.)
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To: Buffalo Head

I guess I should have added the /s to my comment. I own guns, am a strong believer in the 2nd amendment. However, if we are of a mind to get rid of all guns (as the post suggested), we will have to get rid of all the guns that are in the hands of criminals ... ain’t going to happen.


25 posted on 08/12/2011 7:34:10 PM PDT by doc1019 (You do not need a parachute to skydive. You only need a parachute to skydive twice.)
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To: tje

American authorities have learned something from the London riots


26 posted on 08/12/2011 7:34:35 PM PDT by silverleaf (All that is necessary for evil to succeed, is that good men do nothing)
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To: tje

I wouldn’t have expected anything else from the lame cities, counties and state government of California. Seems like they’ve got the jump on New York, Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles and other third world cities.


27 posted on 08/12/2011 7:39:39 PM PDT by RetiredTexasVet (There's a pill for just about everything ... except stupid!)
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To: tje

Enemies of America are adept at using our freedoms against us. Freedom of speech and association are subverted to serve the purposes of the opposition as in this case. Next thing that happens is a judge gets to rule on “the constitutionality” of depriving our enemies of their “civil rights”.


28 posted on 08/12/2011 7:41:29 PM PDT by 4Runner
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To: doc1019
"....if we are of a mind to get rid of all guns...."

Notwithstanding your attempted 'save' and B.S. spin, you seem to accept the above statement as acceptable.

No, you do not support the Second Amendment. You are a fraud.

29 posted on 08/12/2011 7:43:21 PM PDT by Buffalo Head (Illigitimi non carborundum)
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To: tje

For different reasons, the federal courts (and some local/state) confiscate cell phones with cameras from non-lawyers. The cameras have to be kept in a locker or other secured spot with guards until the owner leaves the court house.

Most public events open with a request to turn off cell phones. That’s not disabling as it seems BART has done.


30 posted on 08/12/2011 7:45:41 PM PDT by EDINVA
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To: tje

I will make it legal.

31 posted on 08/12/2011 7:51:36 PM PDT by NativeNewYorker (Freepin' Jew Boy)
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To: Buffalo Head

OK, if you say so. I would say “b$te me”, but I’m not allowed to get personal on FR, so I won’t ... having served honorably in the military, I go to sleep every night knowing that I served to save the constitution of the US and believe in all it’s parts. Have a great day.


32 posted on 08/12/2011 7:53:13 PM PDT by doc1019 (You do not need a parachute to skydive. You only need a parachute to skydive twice.)
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To: ThomasThomas
If you have a cell phone 911 should work whether or not you have service.

No, they turned off the power to the radio equipment which makes any call possible. So they turned off the 911 service as well as any other service - including text messages, etc.

Stupid move if you ask me, because it endangers anyone who might have needed to receive a call or make a call, even a call for help.

And of course telling the world about it is even more stupid. Now any criminal or terrorist knows that you can turn off the ability for people to call 911 from a BART station by just turning off the power to a local cell which covers the station.

The idea of turning off communications, including that used by innocent people to get help in an emergency, just because it might reduce the ability of trouble makers to organize is a really bad idea.

33 posted on 08/12/2011 7:53:43 PM PDT by freeandfreezing
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To: doc1019
doc1019: So, you are saying that everyone, including criminals should have the right to carry arms?

Me: For criminals behind bars or out on probation or as part of a sentence in a court - No. Everyone else - Yes

doc1019: Or get rid of all guns in the US?

Me: Huh??? YOU were the one who said that YOU were "fine with that, as long as you can get guns out of the hands of criminals first."

doc1019: If the later is the case, how do you get rid of guns owned by criminals?

Me: You get guns out of criminals' hand by Due Process of Law as I described above; or failing that, by armed citizens getting rid of the criminals.

__________________________________________

Now, please reconcile a) your position of being fine with ridding the country of guns to stop gun violence if certain conditions are met, with b) the fact that we have the Second Amendment guaranteeing the RKBA.

34 posted on 08/12/2011 8:06:07 PM PDT by Ken H
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To: Ken H

Why don’t you go to bed and sleep it off?


35 posted on 08/12/2011 8:09:00 PM PDT by doc1019 (You do not need a parachute to skydive. You only need a parachute to skydive twice.)
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To: Buffalo Head
"It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." - Aristotle

If we are of a mind to get rid of all guns, then let's get rid of all those in criminal hands first.

But since this is obviously not possible, therefore, we can not possibly be of a mind to get rid of all guns. There is no need to call someone a fraud who expresses the above.

36 posted on 08/12/2011 8:12:58 PM PDT by coloradan (The US has become a banana republic, except without the bananas - or the republic.)
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To: SpaceBar
I'll take a shot at your questions:

Do people have the right to use commercial wireless services (that cross state lines btw) to coordinate possible illegal activity?

They have the right to use their phones, which they pay for, and for which they have a legal right to use for any purpose which is not by itself illegal. So of course they can't use their phones for wire fraud, or conspiracy, or a host of other things. But "possible" isn't "an" illegal activity. And organizing a protest, whether or not the local laws supposedly prohibit it, may be protected speech under the 1st amendment.

In this case, the more important question is "Is it OK to disrupt the wireless service of people who just wanted to use their phones for normal, legitimate purposes?"

Does the BART have the right to curtail unauthorized electronic communication from their premises?

Since they curtailed all communications, probably not. There is a bit of a gray area since apparently they had some control over the cell base stations, in that they were located on their property. But typically federal law prohibits disrupting cell phone systems by any means, including signal jamming. You can be sure that turning the power off to a cell tower is not something you could do because you felt like it unless you had some kind of contractual basis to do so with the companies whose cell stations were affected.

BART also has very limited rights to "curtail" what might be "unauthorized" communication. Nobody needs to be "authorized" to express their opinion. And monitoring speech on phones to detect what you call "unauthorized" speech is illegal without a warrant. Even with a warrant I don't think the government can disrupt a call, they can only monitor it.

I imagine they have a disclaimer on the reliability of their service, but if somebody had a heart attack and died because nobody could call 911 I think a jury might well find them liable.

Is use of a phone “a right”?

Under the 1st amendment, yes. Preventing free speech in advance is certainly an infringement of the right to free speech. It is the same as turning off the power to a newspaper so it can't print tomorrow's paper, or shutting off the power to a data center so a web based forum is shut down. The BART guys may have a slight chance of arguing that they can turn off phone service in their facility at will, but I doubt the voters who fund them will stand for it.

37 posted on 08/12/2011 8:13:43 PM PDT by freeandfreezing
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To: Ken H

Obviously you have picked me to be your target for tonight, guess I should be honored.

Did you serve in the military?


38 posted on 08/12/2011 8:14:54 PM PDT by doc1019 (You do not need a parachute to skydive. You only need a parachute to skydive twice.)
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To: doc1019
I am at a loss as to how your position can be reconciled with the Second Amendment.

So I'm not surprised that you're running from the questions being put to you on this thread.

39 posted on 08/12/2011 8:24:54 PM PDT by Ken H
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Day 43 and the Freepathon is still on. Please donate today.
Click it.

40 posted on 08/12/2011 8:27:29 PM PDT by RedMDer (Abolish FReepathons. Be a monthly donor.)
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To: Ken H

I have run from nothing. However you didn’t answer my question ... did you serve in the military?

You just seem to be obsessed with something I said, something I qualified by apologizing for not putting a /s after my comment. Are you a stalker or what?

Shees, miss a /s and you are crucified by a stalker.


41 posted on 08/12/2011 8:33:53 PM PDT by doc1019 (You do not need a parachute to skydive. You only need a parachute to skydive twice.)
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To: tje

We want government to control nothing and everything at the same time.


42 posted on 08/12/2011 8:55:51 PM PDT by SpaceBar
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To: GeronL

How does this stop a riot?


43 posted on 08/12/2011 8:58:38 PM PDT by dfwgator
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To: doc1019
did you serve in the military?

No.

You just seem to be obsessed with something I said, something I qualified by apologizing for not putting a /s after my comment.

Fair enough, I can see your point. I retract my criticism.

44 posted on 08/12/2011 9:45:40 PM PDT by Ken H
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To: Ken H

At lest you are willing to admit that you have never served in the military, the beginning of honesty and a reasonable dialogue.


45 posted on 08/12/2011 9:59:30 PM PDT by doc1019 (You do not need a parachute to skydive. You only need a parachute to skydive twice.)
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To: doc1019
If it's honest dialogue you want, then stop misusing the term 'stalker'. An exchange on a single thread involving a few posts is not stalking. You should be ashamed for bringing it up.

And stop whining about your sarcasm being missed. It was piss-poor sarcasm.

46 posted on 08/12/2011 10:42:44 PM PDT by Ken H
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To: tje

If digital messaging of some kind is used to organize a crime, does that meet the legal definition of a conspiracy?


47 posted on 08/13/2011 7:21:20 PM PDT by gogeo (...and if you're greener than Gore, you're green enough!!! Robert A Hall)
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To: GeronL

Is it any different from Mubarak cutting cell service to try to stop the revolution?

Cutting communications in the face of popular uprising is the hallmark of a totalitarian state.


48 posted on 08/16/2011 10:06:13 AM PDT by antiRepublicrat
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To: dfwgator
"How does this stop a riot?"

Because the idiot thugs are sheeple, too. No idea what to do, who to rob, what to steal without being told do to so.

49 posted on 08/16/2011 10:09:30 AM PDT by SparkyBass
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To: GeronL
How dare they stop a riot!

I could stop a riot by dropping a nuke. But, would it be appropriate?

50 posted on 08/16/2011 10:12:48 AM PDT by Mr.Unique (Very generic, non-offensive, tagline.)
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