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Thursday, 18 August 2011 18:00

Hackers Seek Revenge for "Free Speech Violation"

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cellphoneAngered over what they perceive to be a violation of free speech, hackers in California launched an online attack against a California transit agency after it turned off cellphone service at its stations in an effort to prevent a potential protest last week.

The hackers are apparently frustrated by efforts taken by police in San Francisco to jam cellphone communications so that protesters could not move forward with their protests. Gawker.com explains: "Protesters had planned to gather at a San Francisco BART [Bay Area Rapid Transit] station during rush hour to protest the fatal July shooting of Charles Hill by a BART police officer. But the protest never materialized. One reason, possibly, is the extreme lengths police went to make sure potential protesters couldn't communicate."

BART reportedly turned off all cellphone service on the station’s platform, an admittedly “unusual measure,” noted Police Lieutenant Andy Alkire, in order to quell what they perceived may have grown into a “potentially volatile situation.”

It is the first time an agency of the U.S. government cut off communication to prevent a protest.

Days later, some of those protesters are exacting vengeance. According to Fox News, hackers “gained access to the website of the union that represents Bay Area Rapid Transit police and posted personal information on more than 100 officers.” Information as personal as home and email addresses were made available.

The anonymous hackers proudly announced their work on Twitter through the account Anonymous and listed the website where the information could be found.

This is the second effort by Anonymous to target BART. Last week, the group hacked into BART’s marketing website and released the personal information of 2,000 customers.

Sherwood Wakeman, BART interim general manager, issued the following statement on the incidents: “We are deeply concerned about the safety and security of our employees and their families.”

 

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