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San Francisco BART rethinking cellphone cutoff policy

updated 05:55 am EDT, Thu October 20, 2011

San Francisco BART responds to July 3 incident

The San Francisco BART is rethinking its cellphone cutoff policy. A new proposed policy (PDF) is being presented to the BART Board of Directors in the wake of its controversial decision to block cellphone transmission to disrupt protests over the shooting death of Charles Hill on July 3. That legality of that decision was even called into question by the FCC who suspected that BART's actions may have violated First Amendment rights.

The new proposed policy would see BART reserve the ability to cut off cellphone transmissions, but only under extraordinary circumstance such as a terrorist attack. If the policy had been in place ahead of the July 3 protest action, the interruption of cellphone communications would not have taken place.

According to BART's president of the BART Board of Directors, Bob Franklin, if passed, the circumstances surrounding a transmission blackout would be quite different.

"It could apply, but it would have to be extraordinary circumstance, and the example given is if people chained themselves to a BART train, which could trap 8,000 people in the Transbay Tube -- then we would have to deal with it," Franklin said. [via SF Weekly]

by MacNN Staff



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