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alp227 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-01-11 09:35 PM
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BART cell phone shutdown rules adopted
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Source: SF Chron

With the last-minute addition of suggestions from the Federal Communications Commission, the BART board quietly ended the long, noisy, often angry controversy over its August shutoff of subterranean cell phone service.

The board, on a 7-0 vote, adopted a policy outlining when and how the transit agency may shut down the antennas that provide cell phone service to its underground station. There was such little discussion that directors Lynette Sweet and Joel Keller, who were out of the room to discuss another matter, did not return in time to cast their vote.

BART became the center of a fierce debate over First Amendment rights in the modern era when it shut down the system that provides cell phone and wireless access in its underground San Francisco stations on Aug. 11 to thwart protesters' plans to stop service by chaining themselves to trains. While the tactic prevented that from happening, it prompted outrage from civil libertarians, protesters and other activists, and led to international publicity, hacker attacks on BART-related websites and months of protests that shut downtown San Francisco stations on multiple occasions. The controversy also persuaded BART officials to adopt a policy.

"If we were faced with the exact same situation, we would not shut off cell phone service," said Bob Franklin, board president. "We would arrest people."

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