Responding to widespread criticism for its decision to shut down cell phone service to quash an anticipated demonstration last August, Bay Area Rapid Transit (CA) has drafted a policy to guide future decisions. The proposed policy, which BART began crafting last month, authorizes the agency to interrupt cell phone service only under extraordinary circumstances when there is “strong evidence of imminent unlawful activity that threatens the safety of District passengers, employees and other members of the public, the destruction of District property, or the substantial disruption of public transit services.” The general manager would be required to approve any cell phone interruption. The draft policy incorporates comments from the American Civil Liberties Union and BART’s Citizen Review Board and includes language to protect the rights of passengers with disabilities to access information and assistance if cell phone service is shut down. BART’s directors are expected to vote on the policy on October 27. Link to proposed BART cell phone policy [PDF format].
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