EFF in the News
But the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF)'s Rebecca Jeschke tells Fast Company that, "It's a First Amendment problem when a government agency takes it upon itself to prevent people from being able to speak. This was a broad prior restraint on the communications of BART riders. It didn't just affect demonstrators--it affected everyone."
Shutting down cellphone service to combat protests — a tactic seen in Iran during 2009 election protests and in Egypt earlier this year during protests that eventually ousted president Hosni Mubarak— is not normally done in the USA, says Rebecca Jeschke of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a non-profit advocacy group for digital and electronic rights. BART officials called the tactic a legal way to ensure a safe commute.
Today on The Stream, John Perry Barlow will join the show via Skype to discuss censorship. He is the co-founder of the Electronic Frontier Foundation and is an author and expert on cyberspace and digital rights.
"It's very clearly a major First Amendment problem whenever a government agency takes it upon itself to simply prevent people from being able to speak," says Lee Tien, a senior staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a civil rights group.
Both the American Civil Liberties Union and the Electronic Frontiers Foundation say they don't believe BART officials had the legal or constitutional right to turn off access to cell phone networks inside four downtown San Francisco stations last Thursday.
Still, BART, whose actions have been criticized as unconstitutional on the grounds that the agency hindered free speech, is likely to stay on the radar of the ACLU and other organizations such as the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation, a civil liberties group concerned with digital issues, put it a bit more bluntly in a post: “BART Pulls a Mubarak in San Francisco.”
CDT was intensively engaged in the proceeding of the California PUC, working in collaboration with the Electronic Frontier Foundation and represented by the Samuelson Law, Technology & Public Policy Clinic at the University of California Berkeley School of Law. In the course of the California proceeding, CDT and EFF laid out a comprehensive data privacy framew
The Electronic Frontier Foundation, too, said it was unlikely to file a lawsuit over the disabling of wireless reception for three hours.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation said BART’s actions constituted an unconstitutional breach of protesters’ First Amendment rights. A blog post on the San Francisco civil rights group’s website likened the subway’s move to Egypt’s decision to cut internet access to quell protests: “Bart Pulls a Mubarak in San Francisco.”