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Forum Post: BART shuts down cell service in all stations

Posted 7 years ago on Aug. 12, 2011, 8:48 p.m. EST by Dragonfire1024 (16) from Kittery, ME
This content is user submitted and not an official statement

Bay Area Rapid Transit (California/San Francisco) statement


"Organizers planning to disrupt BART service on August 11, 2011 stated they would use mobile devices to coordinate their disruptive activities and communicate about the location and number of BART Police. A civil disturbance during commute times at busy downtown San Francisco stations could lead to platform overcrowding and unsafe conditions for BART customers, employees and demonstrators. BART temporarily interrupted service at select BART stations as one of many tactics to ensure the safety of everyone on the platform."

When the occupation of Wall Street happens, will we be faced with this situation on a larger scale? If we end up losing our communications like so, what would be an alternate plan?



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[-] 1 points by Solinvictus (4) 7 years ago


[-] 1 points by anonnona (1) 7 years ago

When I first heard of this cell phone action I did immediately think of how such a restriction might relate to OccupyWallStreet. And while I agree that discussion of such logistical questions is important (possible scenarios and responses, consideration of past attempts to disrupt mass actions and the effectiveness of activists' responses, etc.), would not the location and length of the event make a similar shut down of cell service highly unlikely, and were it to occur, would it not actually further our goals, by further disrupting the functioning of Wall Street, as cell phone communication is of course critical to any sort of effective conducting of business as usual.

Perhaps they will attempt a more limited or localized shut down. But one can be certain that some attempt at disrupting our systems of communication (prior to and during the occupation) will take place. It is also important I believe to look into the ways various governments attempted to shut down all or part of Internet service or services. While the U.S. may not be as likely (at this point) to attempt to enact anything like a complete Internet blackout, something like what is going on in the U.K., as it relates to organizing and social media, is of real concern (in general and for 9/17 in particular). Disrupting our communications will I think certainly be one of their top priorities (among other disruptions they believe will be most effective in limiting/controlling/ suppressing the occupation). It is interesting (and perhaps helpful, as far as developing possible responses beforehand) to imagine what they (NYPD and other government agencies, private security, etc). are most likely planning to do to accomplish the goal of preventing this action, or limiting its effectiveness and repressing its participants into defeat, dispersal, etc. How they may most likely act/react can in part be gathered from their past responses, but as this event is unique, and as their tactics are always developing, it might be helpful to imagine all sorts of scenarios and possible ways to best respond to them, as well as to understand that we will face formidable and organized forces dedicated to putting down this occupation and resistance, and that we must be prepared to respond in creative and continuously developing ways to what is encountered on the ground.

The disruption of communication by authorities raises many logistical questions which need considering (what is lost and gained in increasingly diverse/diversified methods/systems of communication, establishing redundancies, having individuals, perhaps some even participating online from afar, assisting in organizing and adapting communication efforts as the acts of disruption continue or intensify, etc.)

As to possible responses to the certain attempts of authorities to disrupt systems of communication in any ways they can, I think a start is to develop systems/services/programs such as the wire project ( http://wire.0xf.nl/ ), dedicated to secure activist communication (hopefully developed with consideration given to the fact that such sites will be a target for authorities disruptive actions), i.e. systems of communications that can be used as alternatives (or for some purposes replacements) to the conventional, compromised corporate ( and government cooperating) services such as Facebook, Twitter, etc. While they may be highly useful as tools for raising awareness and support, we must be careful not to depend on them (or any one method of communication) too greatly. Of course when one raises the question of alternative systems for communication, more questions are inevitably raised, many of them beyond my technical understanding (would some type of decentralized peer-to-peer system be ideal, or many small, specialized methods or systems, or a system like the wire project on a secure host and with backups in place which could be immediately activated if necessary,etc.)

Even a brief consideration of the difficulties presented by this one (admittedly important) aspect of OccupyWallSteet raises many, many questions, and September 17th is fast approaching. But with enough work and courage and persistence, I believe much is possible. It is possible.

[-] 1 points by mep (2) from California, MO 7 years ago

Although expensive, several people (who would be, perhaps, decision makers in emergencies, maybe those color coordinated focal points discussed in other posts) could have satellite phones.

[-] 1 points by mep (2) from California, MO 7 years ago

It is entirely possible for such an issue to occur. However, it is unlikely to occur immediately. Let's talk Logistics. First on keeping the information flow into and out of the occupation open.

[-] 1 points by AnonSikko (2) 7 years ago

i doubt that this kind of censorship is possible for this event. The cell service was able to be shut down cause it was underground and used extra equipment to get the signal to people

[-] 1 points by Dragonfire1024 (16) from Kittery, ME 7 years ago

Maybe...but they did a good job in Egypt...

[-] 1 points by AnonSikko (2) 7 years ago

aye but to shut off communication like they did in egypt it would mean shutting it off to all of Wall Street i think and we all know they wont do anything to compromise their church

[-] 1 points by Dragonfire1024 (16) from Kittery, ME 7 years ago

They have plenty of ways around that through direct land lines. Not to mention that I'm sure they have the needed cell towers INSIDE the building. If there is even a remote possibility that they can do this in NYC, we should be prepared.

[-] 1 points by Dragonfire1024 (16) from Kittery, ME 7 years ago

Correction: Select stations are affected.