About a week ago, the Bay Area Rapid Transit Authority shut down cell service to a number of their stations in the San Francisco area, claiming that this was a preemptive move to shut down protest activity being coordinated by cellular devices. The protests are in response to the recent heavy-handed tactics of BART, including the recent officer-involved shootings by BART police.
As a result of the hours-long cell phone shut-down, hacker group Anonymous has engaged in a campaign against BART, hacking into two BART-associated websites and posting the stolen data out on the web. In short, they’re out to make BART pay.
While I share Anonymous’s animous (try saying that three times, really fast!) towards BART, I don’t agree with their posting of private information out on the open internet. Their stated feelings on the matter equate to something like: “Sorry for the inconvenience, but we’re on a mission…” Their latest hack exposed the private info of several BART police officers, including home and e-mail addresses and passwords.
In my opinion, Anonymous better cover their arses! They’ve now messed with a law enforcement agency. Not any law enforcement agency, but one that has already displayed it’s willingness to use heavy-handed tactics to get it’s way. That’s like jumping into a room with a pit viper you know has already killed two people, and poking at it with a stick anyway! If I had to wager good money on this, I’d bet Anonymous is gonna get bitten!
I will say this about BART though: those guys are about as FUBAR as a football bat. At the same time they’re trying to get increased funding for upgrading BART trains and equipment, they’re also alienating the source of those funds…their passengers! I can guarantee you that you won’t catch me dead on a BART train anymore. I’ll drive my happy arse wherever I need to go in the Bay Area instead.
So is BART getting what it deserves? Well, you can only urinate in the public pond so often before the public gets angry with you and wants to smack your johnson. Yes, Anon went a bit overboard with this whole hacktivism campaign. Yes, BART went overboard, shutting off a public utility just to prevent a bit of inconvenience. So in the end, (and this is by no means the end, knowing both BART and Anonymous!) I really can’t say.