Good Morning Mission!

Photo by Demetrios Lyras

It’s 6:15 a.m., 52° and going to 64°. You may recognize this weather as the same weather you’ve been having all week. Details are here.

Bicyclists: be aware. SFPD was out at Market and Fifth Street yesterday morning handing out tickets to cyclists who ran red lights. Expect more of the same over the next few weeks.

And BART is still defending its shutdown of cellphone service while on protest alert on Thursday, reports The Bay Citizen. A few highlights….

BART “unilaterally” shut off cellphone antennae nodes on the train platforms in downtown San Francisco for three hours to prevent protesters from communicating by cellphone, said Jim Allison, a BART spokesman. 

Federal communication law explicitly prohibits cellphone jamming, but BART used a different method. It simply “powered down the antennae and alerted the cellphone carriers,” Allison said. Cellphone service above ground and on the upper level of the stations was not affected. 

Major carriers lease space on BART’s underground cellphone network, but BART has the power to shut it down, Allison said. “Our interim general manager stated to me he felt we were well within our legal right.”

With protesters using Twitter and text messages to organize demonstrations across the globe, cutting Internet and cellphone service has become an increasingly common law enforcement tactic. Following civil unrest in London this week, the government there is considering placing restrictions on Blackberry messaging and other digital communication used by protesters. The regime of Hosni Mubarak in Egypt cut off cellphone and Internet access in an effort to stymie the mass demonstrations that eventually toppled the leader.

Johnson, the BART spokesman, said that if there’s an emergency, passengers can contact station agents, train operators or BART police directly or use courtesy telephones. He said that until recently, there was no cellphone service on BART.

Filed under: Today's Mission

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