Members of infamous hacktivist group Anonymous have launched a concerted campaign of retaliation against San Francisco’s Bay Area Rapid Transit System, known as BART, after the organization cut Wi-Fi and cell phone service at “select” downtown subway stations on Friday in an attempt to quell a citizen protests against BART police.
Dubbed “Operation BART,” or OpBART, the campaign includes a multi-pronged strategy of civil disobedience.
First, the group hacked the website myBART.org, an independently-operated website that uses BART’s open data services. A message at that URL says the site is “currently under renovation.”
In addition to the myBART hack, Anons released the names, email addresses, phone numbers and home addresses, of at least 2,400 or the 55,000 people who use the myBART website, according to BART.
“We apologize to any citizen that has his information published, but you should go to BART and ask them why your information wasn’t secure with them,” wrote Anonymous about its release of private data. “Also do not worry, probably the only information that will be abused from this database is that of BART employees.”
On Sunday, Anonymous followed through on its plans to take down the BART.gov website for six hours (though the exact duration of the take-down is not publicly known), and defaced the website with the Anonymous logo.
Anonymous has also urged supporters to help carry out a “massive” Black Fax and “email bomb action” against BART and its employees, which includes faxing a mostly black flier (to drain the expensive fax machine ink) to BART offices, and bombarding email inboxes with Anonymous messages.
To top off OpBART, Anonymous has organized a physical protest against the transit system, which is set to take place today (Monday) at 5pm PST at San Francisco’s Civc Center BART station.
“For the people outside of San Francisco, show solidarity by using black fax, email bombs, and phone calls to the BART Board of Directors. BART decided to cut off your communications and now we will flood theirs,” writes Anonymous in a press release.
“We request that you bring cameras to record further abuses of power by the police and to legitimize the protest. The media will certainly spin this in an attempt to make our actions appear to be violent or somehow harmful to the citizenry at large. Remember, this is a peaceful protest. Any actions trying to incite violence in our protest are not of our people, and they ought to be discouraged.”
The initial protest against BART that prompted the mass transit organization to cut cell phone service was in response to a number of questionable actions by BART police, including the deadly shootings of 22-year-old Oscar Grant and, more recently, 45-year-old Charles Blair Hill.