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Anonymous Protests BART Cell Service Shut Down: opBART Begins

 

In reaction to BART’s shutdown of cell phone service Thursday, Anonymous has taken to the Internet and begun #opBART and #opMuBARTek (a reference to the Egyptian president’s shutting down that country’s Internet service during protests) a  multi-pronged series of actions designed to protest the Bay Area Rapid Transit’s  stifling of  free speech. There will be a peaceful Anon-organized protest Monday at BART Civic Center Station at 5pm. Attendees are requested to wear either a red shirt or clothes with fake blood stains, and to bring video cameras.

BART has issued a statement which said, in part:

Paid areas of BART stations are reserved for ticketed passengers who are boarding, exiting, or waiting for BART cars and trains, or for authorized BART personnel. No person shall conduct or participate in assemblies or demonstrations or engage in other expressive activities in the paid areas of BART stations, including BART cars and trains and BART station platforms.

No telling what BART would do if a carload of passengers suddenly put on Anon masks once riding.

Anonymous does not appear to be involved in the planning of last Thursday’s aborted protest over the Transit Police’s fatal shooting of a man in July of this year, and activated only when the cellphone service was shut off.  BART’s cellphone service shutdown was decried by the ACLU, State Senator Leland Yee and the Electronic Freedom Foundation-Austin, amongst others.

On Sunday, mybart.org was defaced with Anonymous’ iconic Guy Fawks (Epic Fail Guy) mask. BART had issued a press statement on Sunday morning saying that there could be disruptions to their web service.

In another action, some Anonymous person/s hacked into the BART database and dumped data, including users’ emails and passwords onto the BART website.  Some people have tweeted their objection to that action, one writing:

I dont support the leak. I don’t support “pickles” as a password either.

Good point. No credit card data was involved in the leak; however, it is always a good idea to use a different password for different sites (hence possibly the reason one person’s password was admin123). On their Twitter feed #opBART, Anonymous claims to have

emailed all the people on the BART mailing list (over 120k) on how to join tomorrows protest and why

Because user information was accessed and posted, the FBI has been called in according to the San Francisco Examiner, and there is speculation that cellphone service may be blocked again for the protest. The National Lawyers Guild will have their hotline in place for the protest, and demonstrators are advised to write down the phone number on their arms and/or memorize it in case of arrest or injury.

And while they were at it, Anonymous also defaced the California Avoid website, with messages including

Free Topiary

a reference to the jailing of an alleged Anon in England over various acts of  hacktivism.

With regards to upswings in hacking activities and the UK riots, Anonymous issued this statement:

We found thousands of messages that claim to be Anonymous, attributing responsibility for things we would never do and now it happens with the riots. Be alert to this. Do not allow Internet Censorship! An article in PC magazine shows that the corporate media is starting to ask the same question that the alternative media has been asking. Are the recent string of hacker attacks a false flag operations meant to drum up support to push through Internet censorship laws that the public would otherwise protest? Are the recent riots a false flag operations meant to drum up support to push through Internet censorship laws that the public would otherwise protest?

As BART’s website infrastructure is not at all connected to the computer systems that run the trains themselves, the web attacks did not result in any service delays. Additionally, there was no disruption to BART’s schedule and information site, bart.gov.

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Lisa Derrick

Lisa Derrick

Los Angeles native, attended UC Berkeley and Loyola Marymount University before punk rock and logophilia overtook her life. Worked as nightclub columnist, pop culture journalist and was a Hollywood housewife before writing for and editing Sacred History Magazine. Then she discovered the thrill of politics. She also appears frequently on the Dave Fanning Show, one of Ireland's most popular radio broadcasts.

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