ABC 7 News Video Re: BART Spokesperson on shutting off cell phone service during the BART protests.
My reaction: Shame on you Linton Johnson. You are a former journalist turned PR hack. You of all people should be championing free speech rights and understand how important it is in order to do your job. Instead, you acknowledge conceiving the idea of shutting off cell phone service in BART stations to try and stop protestors from organizing on BART.
While you have an obligation to protect the safety of your riders, you also have the obligation not to alienate the rights of everyone else to free communication and speech. If there was a clear and present danger that you directly knew cell phones were being used to organize an attack on a rider or BART at that moment, then the argument becomes clearer justifying the cell phone service shut down. In this hypothetical situation, while the legality of the move would have still been murky, you would’ve had public sympathy on your side. But instead, you pushed the idea of shutting down cell phone service in anticipation of potential disruptions. It’s a fine line, but you’re on the wrong side of it, Linton.
Furthermore, your flagrant attitude towards this very alarming move is indefensible. It’s clear that you’re losing an uphill battle in trying to defend your own move in the interview video above.
While I don’t agree with the tactics of Anonymous in posting the data of users of the MyBart.org website, I also don’t agree that BART should have or has the legal ability or moral obligation to shut off the cell phone towers in the BART station. You set yourself up for this by installing these cell phone towers inside of the BART stations and tunnels, you earned mounds of cash through the cell phone companies paying rent to place these towers within your system, and now you’ve opened Pandora’s box and have to face the repercussions of hastily taking away this service in order to benefit BART.
It’s about time for you to resign from your position and publically apologize for implementing your shameful idea.