OAKLAND (CBS 5 / KCBS) — Computer hackers on Wednesday again targeted the Bay Area Rapid Transit system, which came under fire recently for turning off cellphone and wireless service in a few of its underground downtown San Francisco stations to thwart a potential protest over a police shooting.

This time, the hackers group called “Anonymous” gained access to a BART police union website and posted personal information on more than 100 officers. Last week, the same group of hackers broke into BART’s marketing websiteMyBart.org – and released personal information on more than 2,400 customers.

KCBS’ Bob Melrose Reports:

BART Deputy Police Chief Ben Fairow told KCBS radio that the agency was deeply disturbed by the latest attack and condemned it because the data breach could jeopardize the safety of officers’ family members.

“We roundly condemn it. It’s just putting more people in jeopardy,” he said. “Their personal information is out there. BART police officers are used to working in a dangerous environment. What they’re not used to is having their families put in jeopardy.”

Fairow added that he also thought the cyber attacks were being carried out “in a cowardly manner.”

The Federal Bureau of Investigation is already investigating the hack attack on the MyBART.org website and was now expanding its probe to include the breach of the police union’s website.

The hackers group ‘Anonymous’ has suggested in online postings that the two hacks came in retaliation to BART’s cutting wireless communication, which successfully quelled a brewing protest over the July 3 BART police shooting and killing of 45-year-old Charles Blair Hill. Officers allege the transient lunged at them with a knife.

BART’s action was widely believed to be the first time a governmental agency in the U.S. cut wireless communication to stop a protest and it ignited a national debate over free speech rights.

BART’s chief communications officer Linton Johnson has told the Associated Press that it was his idea to cut the power to the underground wireless and cellphone system that is owned and operated by BART. He defended the tactic as legal and appropriate to ensure a safe commute. A CBS 5 poll has found a majority of Bay Area residents agree with Johnson’s position.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All rights Reserved.)

Comments (22)
  1. Sharon says:

    What I’d like to know is who did these “Anonymous” jerks release this information to? Freedom of Speech and Freedom of Information is one thing…THEFT is quite another! Also, it’s my understanding that in order to “march” down the streets of the City (in an orderly fashion or not), one has to get a permit from the City. Did that happen? Probably not! Instead of fending these malcontents off at the BART stations, the police should be doing their jobs…arresting each and every one of them! If they’re so proud of what they’re doing, why do they hide behind stupid masks and something that my Grandpa used to blow his nose in! Pitiful!

    I was on BART (for the 1st time ever) last Thursday and while there may have been no cellphone service in the actual station, there were plenty of people jabbering away on the train — so ALL cellphone services was not disabled.

    1. Derp says:

      You don’t need a PERMIT from the city for a peaceful assembly, as per Constitution of the United States.

      1. ron says:

        The key word here is “peaceful” and BART has provided an area for them. But no, they have to cause chaos for the thousands of others who use BART with no problem. I back BART’s decision to cut service.

        And btw, since when it is legal to hack into a website and publish personal data of passengers? Well don’t break the law while trying to defend freedom of speech. Its contradictory.

    2. Tim says:

      Oppressors in power can’t always be stopped by direct confrontation. When violent animals are in control of a particular region, direct confrontation is not heroic, it’s just plain stupid. Good people aren’t going to take pride in making themselves a target. All of the greatest peaceful leaders of the 20th century were murdered in cold blood by your kind. This is because they put themselves out there as targets. It’s only intelligent that GOOD people have learned from this, and now lead peaceful movements anonymously. Most of the good people of the world would be more than happy to live completely separate from violent creatures such as yourself. But sadly you are predatory and incapable of living life without forcing yourselves on others. If you can’t learn to stop your violent ways, I suggest you turn your violence against yourself and go straight to hell.

  2. James Greybush says:

    i bet the cops are wishing they treated people better right about now.

    1. David Legnosky says:

      Maybe you, and others, should remember the old addage, TREAT PEOPLE THE WAY YOU WANT TO BE TREATED! If everyone did this, the Police would not have to use forceful tatics. EVERYONE that protests, GROW UP!

      1. Skunky says:

        Yeah, man up and stop whining about police shooting people! Don’t you know that they are better than you and deserve all the rights that are being taken away from you?

    2. Ben says:

      The cops complain that everbody is out to get them and their way of dealing with it is to shoot faster and push more people around. They’re just not smart enough to get the clue. The police union should be under RICO investigation and most PDs should be under the control of a civilian trustee.

  3. Written by an American says:

    Whether a permit is required or not is a decision of the people. Perhaps we should debate that. Perhaps we should collectively discuss how the public and BART can come to terms on how BART, a government agency funded by tax dollars and accountable only to the people of the United States and our elected leaders, can best serve the people of San Francisco. Regardless, let it be known that cutting off peaceful protestors’ phones will not be tolerated in America. The right to assemble, speak, organize and communicate among political all political groups, whether they are a minority political group or not, is a right endowed by our creator. Give us liberty or give us death.

    1. David Legnosky says:

      Bary never needed to supply Cell Phone service on their routes. It’s their equipment and they can turn it on or off as they deem necessary. If I owned BART, I would cancel all services. GROW UP People!Nobody owes anyone anything, you only get what you deserve!

  4. Kathy says:

    BART provides cell phone service from their own routes/servers to their paying customers. Since it’s their equipment, they can turn it on or turn it off. I’m not quite sure how Anonymous’ website hacking, and disclosing personal information about passengers, and now police, on the internet is even relevant to their “cause”. Did these passengers or those particular officers have ANYTHING to do with the shooting of an armed man who presented a danger to himself and others?

  5. Lee White says:

    Linton Johnson is a fool and deserves to be fired just like that pathetic Dorothy Dugger was. How’s that DUI case up in Napa going, Dorothy? Although I’m not happy with Anonymous for releasing personal information of innocent citizens, everyone should know that privacy is illusory. Give me a real name and a hometown and I’ll LEGALLY find out where just about anyone in America lives within minutes. BART, like many other endeavors in the Bay Area, is wasteful and operated by overpaid, incompetent, self-important managers and unionized thugs. Were it not for a few good physicians who treat my wife’s condition, we would have left years ago. As it stands, we’re seriously considering leaving when our lease ends. Those of you “sheeple” who blindly follow authority need to wake up and realize that government officials in California — heck, in America — care nothing about you and everything about lining their own pockets.

  6. Redi says:

    God Bless You All What a Joke Bart and protesters are

  7. Larry Z says:

    What an amazing double standard. These criminals post people’s personal information they stole on a website. Yet they whine and moan and make up all kinds of stories about their so called rights. Their is no civil right or any other right to have cellular service provided to them underground in a BART station. BART provides this as a free service to their customers. Nothing more.

    And though the constitution does provide for people’s right to assemble it does not include the right ti interfere other people’s rights. Closing down a BART station is not a right. It is also not a right to prevent BART passengers from legally going where they need to go on the system. If people want to protest peacefully they can find themselves a corner of the station and hold signs or whatever they like. They go beyond any rights they have when they interfere with other people’s rights. What next? Someone says they want to assemble in my house because the constitution says they can. BRING IT ON. I’ll demonstrate my right to protect my property and do so with extreme prejudice.

    There is also no right to break into someone’s private property, whether that be their house, their business or their computers. There is also no right to steal the property of others and then post it for all to see.

    The bottom line is people’s rights end when it interferes with other people’s rights. These ignorant spoiled brats cannot differentiate between and actual right and what they want. And in California and in particular in San Francisco the government condones people breaking the law and impacting the REAL rights of other for fear of hurting some criminals feelings.

    1. Survival says:

      Larry, you really put it right! Run for office!! I would vote for you!!!

  8. Pat says:

    This BS is out of control now. These hackers need to be found and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. These worthless protestors are no better as well. Anyone who pulls out a knife and a broken bottle and threatens anyone to include the Bart police on these Bart stations all need to be taken down quickly. These protestors better watch themselves.

  9. Ben says:

    I don’t necessarily agree with hacking, but somebody needs to stand up for basic values. If the system won’t take action against murdering cops and assualts on our freedom, I won’t complain about hacking. If this causes a cop to think before shooting a helpless person, or wait an extra second and realize that there really is no threat, then I’m for it. If the system won’t protect the people, the people will protect themselves.

    1. RealityCheck says:

      Ben you have a basic lack of comprehension. When someone is threatening you with a knife you are completely justified in using deadly force. You do not even have to give him a warning. Moral of the story, do not bring a knife to a gunfight. If you think that knives are not that dangerous then you are a total moron. There is also no First Amendment problem here. The equipment BART turned off is their private property and they can turn off the cell phone repeaters. I guess most people cannot recall the time when we had no cell phones and you actually had to use landline phones or you could not make a call. There is no right for any of these idiots to disrupt BART service. When a violent drunk has more rights than law abiding citizens we have hit a major breakdown in values.

  10. Kathy says:

    Right on, Larry Z and Pat! Well said.
    Some of the video from the “peaceful” protest clearly showed one of the protesters “chest-shoving” an officer. That’s not so peaceful!

    As to the shooting victim – it’s tragic that someone got shot and killed. References to him being “helpless” are off base. He had a knife and a broken bottle. The broken bottle can cause more severe injuries than a knife.

    Maybe he could have been tased. . . maybe not. Hindsight is 20-20. The fact is none of us were there and forced to make a split second decision.