It seems every time the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) gets themselves in the news, they’re acting to limit our freedom, but this time, they’re standing up against state encroachments on our liberty when challenging an action of San Francisco (San Francisco!) bureaucrats:
Transit officials said Friday that they blocked cellphone reception in San Francisco train stations for three hours to disrupt planned demonstrations over a police shooting.
Officials with the Bay Area Rapid Transit system, better known as BART, said they turned off electricity to cellular towers in four stations from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday. The move was made after BART learned that protesters planned to use mobile devices to coordinate a demonstration on train platforms.
. . . .
The American Civil Liberties Union questioned the tactic.
“Shutting down access to mobile phones is the wrong response to political protests,” the ACLU’s Rebecca Farmer said in a blog post.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation said on its website that “BART officials are showing themselves to be of a mind with the former president of Egypt, Hosni Mubarak.” Mubarak’s regime cut Internet and cellphone services in the country for days early this year while trying to squelch protests demanding an end to his authoritarian rule.
Sounds like the guy who used a machine gun to kill a gnat. This is not nearly as bad what the then-president did in Egypt, but it does seem a bit authoritarian to inconvenience tens, if not hundreds of thousands of citizens, to prevent demonstrations by a handful of mischievous miscreants.
If they were aware of these protests, why couldn’t they have brought in additional security to the various BART stations. But, maybe they thought they would seem too heavy-handed. (Am I the only one seeing the irony here?)
FROM THE COMMENTS: Thulsa Doom gets it:
. . . not only does it punish the majority for the problems created by a minority, as others have stated, it also prevents the use of cell phones specifically to report emergencies or at the very least to call and warn others to stay away to avoid danger.
If what they fear occurs and protests turn into riots, then that’s when a lot of innocent bystanders are likely going to need their phones quite possibly more than they’ve ever needed them before in their lives.