Late last night, the FCC announced it's investigating BART's Thursday decision to shut down cell phone service in its stations.
"Any time communications services are interrupted, we seek to assess the situation," said FCC spokesman Neil Grace in an e-mail. "We are continuing to collect information about BART's actions and will be taking steps to hear from stakeholders about the important issues those actions raised, including protecting public safety and ensuring the availability of communications networks."
The FCC really had no choice but to step in. After all, BART's action not only put passengers in much more danger than they claimed the protesters would have put them, but is almost certainly illegal.
Hopefully BART will do a better job of defending itself than it did yesterday. CNET called BS on BART's latest excuse.
"I cannot talk about our tactics tonight because we are obliged by the Constitution to balance everybody's rights," BART spokesman Johnson told KRON TV this morning, saying that he would not reveal what BART plans are in preparation for the protest.
"We were forced into a gut wrenching decision" to cut cell service to protect BART users' "constitutional right to safety."
There is, however, no right to safety in the U.S. Constitution, only a right to speak and assemble freely--which, some legal experts say, BART violated. The word "safety" appears in the state constitution, but in a section that talks about individual rights, not police powers. (emphasis mine)
On the surface, it looks like a slam dunk. BART obviously had less invasive methods to deal with the protests other than cutting off cell phone service. Unless it can prove it used every non-invasive method at its disposal, it should be staring down the barrel of a whopping fine. Not to mention an avalanche of civil rights actions.