San Francisco Subway Cuts Cell Service to Foil Protest
Move apparently worked, but backlash is growing
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 12, 2011 6:24 PM CDT
On July 11, BART workers remove a man who climbed on top of a train during a protest at the Civic Center station in San Francisco.   (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

(Newser) – This one could get interesting: Transit authorities in San Francisco temporarily cut cell phone service to four subway stations yesterday to prevent protesters from organizing, reports CNET. It seemed to work: The protest—over the fatal shooting of a man by a BART police officer last month—never materialized. But the backlash is growing, with the ACLU complaining on First Amendment grounds and some hacktivists in Anonymous vowing revenge on BART.

The transit agency says it made the decision after protest organizers said they would use mobile devices to coordinate things. "A civil disturbance during commute times at busy downtown San Francisco stations could lead to platform overcrowding and unsafe conditions," said a statement issued by BART defending the move. Click to read about a London teen charged with using her BlackBerry to encourage friends to join the riots there.