Anonymous Targets BART Web Site

By Tracey E. Schelmetic August 18, 2011

San Francisco's Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) must be seriously re-thinking its decision to block cell phone service to stave off a possible protest. The fallout since has rained harder on the transit company than it probably ever imagined.

Last week, BART reportedly cut off power to its wireless nodes after learning that demonstrators planned to use social media and text messaging to organize a protest against the shooting of a man by transit cops in July. The move that has troubled civil libertarians and prompted the ire of hackers.

Earlier this week, a protest against both the shooting and the cell phone blocking by “hacktivist” group Anonymous briefly shut down four BART stations, temporarily stranding some commuters.

Now, it would appear that Anonymous has targeted BART interests digitally. This morning, the Associated Press reported that hackers have seized and posted personal information of more than 100 members of the BART police, including their home and e-mail addresses. 

Anonymous announced the breach of the BART Web site on Twitter and published the address of the site where the information could be found. (Though Anonymous has not officially claimed responsibility for this breach as it did when it broke into the marketing Web site of BART last week, releasing the personal information of more than 2,000 customers.)

The shutdown of the wireless towers helped raise questions about the role that social networks are playing in helping people, from Egypt to London, organize online. In the U.S., with its history of free speech, critics are saying BART's move was unconstitutional, TIME magazine is reporting.

BART's shut-down of the towers has prompted an FCC investigation into the legality of the transit company's actions.

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Tracey Schelmetic is a contributing editor for TechZone360. To read more of Tracey's articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Jennifer Russell

TechZone360 Contributor

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