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FCC wants comments on legality of cellphone jamming

03/02, 5:30pm

Reconsidering current ban on service blockage

The FCC is asking for public input as to whether or not it should allow federal, state, and local government agencies to intentionally jam wireless services in the interest of public safety. The commission is trying to formulate a policy in the wake of actions taken last summer by San Francisco's Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART)system to block cell signals in some stations. BART had taken the measures to allegedly keep protestors from disrupting train schedules as part of their demonstrations.

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FCC to probe BART's cell service interruption policy

12/02, 5:10pm

BART policy to get combed over by the FCC

After San Francisco's Bay Area Rail Transit (BART) system shut down cellphone access during Anonymous protests, many believed it did so illegally. The FCC has now revealed (PDF) it will delve deeper into these actions and BART's Cell Service Interruption Policy (PDF). The government agency will need to check if these now policies violate the First Amendment, the Communications Act, First Amendment and other laws.

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San Francisco BART rethinking cellphone cutoff policy

10/20, 5:55am

San Francisco BART responds to July 3 incident

The San Francisco BART is rethinking its cellphone cutoff policy. A new proposed policy (PDF) is being presented to the BART Board of Directors in the wake of its controversial decision to block cellphone transmission to disrupt protests over the shooting death of Charles Hill on July 3. That legality of that decision was even called into question by the FCC who suspected that BARTís actions may have violated First Amendment rights.

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FCC suspects BART may have violated First Amendment rights

08/24, 3:40pm

FCC to look into whether BART violated rights

Concerns that San Francisco's Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) system illegally blocked cell phone signals in anticipation of a protest may have violated First Amendment rights, according CNET. At a tech conference on Tuesday, FCC commissioner Robert McDowell said the ongoing investigation into the matter will look into whether any civil liberties were broken.

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FCC questions legality of BART's cellphone block in protests

08/15, 6:35pm

FCC concerned BART violated rules with cell cutoff

FCC officials have begun investigating the legality of BART's cellphone network cutoff. It dodged around committing to any claims but said it would be "taking [efforts] to hear from stakeholders" about the problems surrounding the anti-protest move. Agency representative Neil Grace was most concerned that the San Francisco Bay light rail system had put public safety at risk by making it impossible to call for an ambulance or police for a real crisis.

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San Francisco transit to gain mobile Wi-Fi

02/02, 1:10pm

San Fran's BART gets Wi-Fi

San Francisco's Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) service should soon see the addition of permanent mobile Wi-Fi access, according to the technology's provider. WiFi Rail says it has a signed a 20-year deal to provide hotspots throughout BART's terminal network, and particularly on all commuter trains, where the only alternative has so far been cellular access. Routers and switches are being provided by Cisco, while servers are slated to run Mac OS X.

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Firm tests Wi-Fi on moving San Francisco trains

02/01, 1:30pm

Wi-Fi Rail on BART Trains

Overcoming what it says is a key obstacle to getting Internet access into public transit, Wi-Fi Rail today revealed that it has finished installing and deploying one of the first truly functional underground Wi-Fi systems for trains. In testing since the summer, a system deployed at four stops along the BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) network in San Francisco has been providing 802.11g wireless access in between the stations regardless of the station or the trains' moving speed. A combination of strategically placed transmitters, amplifiers, and receivers (including some inside the rail cars) keeps the signal strong even along bends in the track; it also provides enough overlap that the connection remains uninterrupted even at 65 miles an hour, Wi-Fi Rail says.

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