The most important constitutional right to Berkeley residents would undoubtedly be the right to protest. Naturally, any policy set in place that inhibits our freedom toBART express our distress will raise outcry among Bay Area denizens.

Interestingly enough, the BART Board of Directors is scheduled to discuss a policy allowing temporary disruption of cell phone services if “there is evidence that cellphones are being used to disrupt public transit services, destroy BART property or endanger commuters.”

Ooh, we here at the Clog can already tell that’s not gonna fly too well.

This comes in the wake of the Aug. 11 protest organized by No Justice No BART, during which BART disabled cellphone reception in downtown San Francisco stations because protestors were using cellphones to discuss the whereabouts of BART police officers.

The American Civil Liberties Union reacted negatively, sending an open letter to the Board of Directors expressing concern over the proposed policy. No surprises there.

Bob Franklin, the president of BART’s Board of Directors, offered the example of terrorists using cell phones to detonate bombs, as in the 2004 Madrid train bombings. Such dangerous activities, along with hostage situations and other violent crimes, are what necessitate the ability to suspend cell phone service.

Franklin does make a valid point there, nevertheless, residents are unhappy with the potential infringement of First Amendment rights. So don’t be surprised if you see another set of protests around BART stations sometime soon.

And don’t be shocked if your reception cuts out suddenly and without warning. This time around, it might not be AT&T’s fault.

Image source: bradlauster under Creative Commons
BART board will review policy to temporarily interrupt cell phone service in stations [Daily Cal]



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