Contrary to what some readers angrily claimed it would not do, the Federal Communications Commission has opened an investigation into the BART Cell Phone Service Interruption Scandal. The claim in this space was that BART’s turning off station cell phone service last Thursday night wasn’t legal, and the blog post upset many people. But the bottom line is that, as stated before, the Federal Communications Act of 1934 has clear words that discourage that kind of action. It’s the FCC’s job to enforce the Act.
FCC spokesperson Neil Grace said “Any time communications services are interrupted, we seek to assess the situation. 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.”
One big question that the FCC certainly musk ask BART, and ask for supporting records related to it, is if BART’s lawyers were asked to investigate the legality of the cell phone service blocking idea before it was done. If not, it’s almost certain the FCC will take some kind of action against BART, and simply because the absence of any pre-decision legal opinion is a sure sign that the idea was made and done in haste, without regard for the law, and with the kind of emotion that a well-managed organization should not display.
One thing that’s a sure clue BART knew it’s actions were not legal after it was done last Thursday, is that turning off the cell phone network wasn’t done on Monday, and in anticipation of the announced non-violent protest planned for Civic Center BART Station in San Francisco. Here’s video from today’s events, and by several YouTubers:
I don’t know who the man pretending to the Verizon Wireless “Can You Hear Me Now” guy is, but he must have repeated that statement several hundred times.
But the protest and the FCC announcement wasn’t the only BART news from today, Monday.