The hacking group Anonymous has waged a full-on war on BART, the San Francisco subway system, over cellular shutdowns to stifle protests.
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It was a juvenile act dressed up as a political protest, and it didn't sit well with some members of Anonymous, the loose-knit group that's been leading the campaign against BART. The photos came as BART's board of directors discussed the agency's policy about blocking cell phone service at its Wednesday meeting -- they didn't come to a conclusion, but decided a system to shut down service may be appropriate in some cases.
With journalists and activists live-tweeting from the meeting room, and the Twitter streams for Anonymous flowing with retweets and calls to action, the BARTlulz prank seems to have rankled some more serious participants.
On the opBART Twitter stream, a disagreement appeared to break out between its operators, as one tweet on Tuesday since deleted seemed to threaten that if Johnson didn't step down, the photos would be posted.
A later tweet recanted that and said the photos would be posted anyway. Finally, on Wednesday, this message went up : "We categorically denounce the tweets related to Linton. An editing or approval process will likely be implemented. That's a very low road to take, sir.
But as BART's board of directors stays keen to keep cell-phone shut-offs on the table, it's strange that the ire of these groups has focused in on Johnson, who is, arguably, just the messenger. It's because Johnson has taken credit for the idea to shut down servicesaying he passed it on to BART police. He also has the unlucky job of having to explain to reporters and activists why BART made the decisions it made, even as a policy hasn't been finalized by the board. But another spokesman, Jim Allison, was the one who said early on that BART was "within its legal right" to shut down the service.
A Twitter search for his name along with BART, returned nothing, while Johnson's name returned scoresalmost all having to do with Wednesday's prank. The schism forming over the nature of the BART protest recalls the Guardian story from Mondaywhich reported that Anonymous was "looking less like a force and more like an incoherent rabble as a result of the past two months, when many of its ideals have been washed away in a tide of misdirected hacking, which in turn has led to a of public defections by people disaffected with its lack of focus.
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