Friday, August 12, 2011
SF BART: Silencing Phones, Stifling Protests, Violating Freedom of Speech?
Yesterday, the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) shut off phone service at some BART stations to defuse a "flash mob" protest. The Washington Post reports that the planned protest was a response to transit police killing someone during a confrontation on July 3. BART explained that it respects First Amendment activities--even though it tried to stop a protest criticizing and drawing attention to its transit police.
My initial reaction to this post was: Is this a paean to our yodeler? But then I woke up and read it and that nightmare was over.
Seriously, this is a serious issue. I'm thinking of what's been happening in London and other British communities in the past few days. While technology advances freedom of speech, it can foster violence with speech facilitated by such technology.
Maybe you need a bit more skepticism, Shaq.
The phones didn't foster the violence. Riots don't happen because people have phones. If we are to admit that they may help in some small way in the organisation of violence, then so what? Are the innumerate press and governments and police attempting to quantify this effect? That the violence was X greater because we allowed Y speech?
That's what a rational society would do. People complaining about phones and the internet during these riots, without acknowledging any attempt to study the problem scientifically, are doing a greater disservice to democracy than any rioter.
Often there is a triggering event that reveals underlying issues that have been known but have been ignored and control is lost not only by those involved in reaction to the trigger but then by the government officials. In between there are innocents who suffer. There are many studies on youth unemployment, racial issues, increasing poverty levels, etc, but just like governments fail to address failing infrastructure, governments fail to address these underlying issues. So, cfr, I don't know if we are really in disagreement. I've seen situations similar to what has happened in Britain happen here in the Boston area. But I don't excuse the rioters or the government. And when these triggers occur during economic downturns, a deeper deficit results.
By the way, I am not a Luddite and have long accepted technology advances as progressiveness. But falsely yelling fire in a crowded theatre comes to mind here. I like the Rodney King approach of some years ago in LA: "Can't we all just get along?"
As for studies, the problem is that good studies are often ignored because it costs money to implement them. And sometimes bridges fail because of failure to maintain them.
I thank crf for his comment. It helps put things in perspective.
A little reality check here:
1. BART didn't shut off phones, it stopped actively extending cell phone service to underground trains and stations.
2. Likewise, cell service was affected only at those location, and for limited times.
3. No one was prevented from expressing anything. Just go to where your carrier's signal carries, and talk and type all you want. At most a 10 minute delay.
4. BART manages a system with real safety issues. The voltage on the steel third rail is 1000 volts; trains go up to 80 mph; stations are routinely crowded. This is simply not a safe place for a protest, let alone the "action" threatened.
And a little analysis:
1. "Fire in a crowded theater" is an accepted limit on expression.
2. Freedom of expression does not equate to access to a particular forum.
3. The limits here were brief, mild, and tailored to a particular situation. Would anyone seriously argue that limiting cell phone use on a plane is censorship? The limits here were closer to that than to anything Mubarek did.
Disclosure: I ride BART every day.
The FAA restricts certain types of cellphone use across the board for safety reasons. It is a content neutral restriction. There is no viewpoint discrimination.
The poster is incorrect in his content neutral "across the board" analysis This is NOT content neutral. This is viewpoint discrimination disguised as content neutral which runs afoul of the 1st amendment. The purpose of the across the board ban is not for a general safety reasons but to silence the protesters for what they might say. That is prior restraint.
I was not aware that if I had a particular thing to say, the phone service would open up to me. If only I had known! I would have uttered so many acceptable words!
In short, no, this wasn't a content restriction.
Even sillier is the notion that the protesters were silenced.
Nothing prevented them from uttering all the words they wanted, on any topic of their choosing. They were free to say, write, sing, dance, and send texts -- same as the rest of us, in a place where it's safe to do all that. And that's exactly what they did yesterday on Market Street. And I fully support their right to do so.
What they don't have the right to do is disrupt train service or endanger riders and BART workers.
HD kaliteli porno izle ve boşal.
Bayan porno izleme sitesi.
Bedava ve ücretsiz porno izle size gelsin.
Liseli kızların ve Türbanlı ateşli hatunların sikiş filmlerini izle.
Siyah karanlık odada porno yapan evli çift.
harika Duvar Kağıtları bunlar
tamamen ithal duvar kağıdı olanlar var
It's actually a cool and useful piece of info. I am glad that you simply shared this useful info with us. Please keep us up to date like this. Thanks for sharing, You can also check out this http://www.sqiar.comPost a Comment