Hackivist group Anonymous attacked San Francisco’s Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) website, myBART.org, on Sunday. As of Monday, the site is still down, with a message that reads, “This site is currently under renovation.”
The attack came after BART blocked cell service to thwart a protest on Thursday. Calling BART’s decision an act of cellphone censorship, Anonymous launched its #OpBART campaign and took to Twitter to rally supporters.
On Saturday, Anonymous promised that it would shut down BART’s website on 12 p.m. PT on Sunday. Making good of its promise, it shut down myBART.org, a satellite site used for marketing purposes. The group defaced the site with Anonymous logos and released personal contact information for at least 2,400 of the sites’ 55,000 users, including names, addresses, phone numbers and email accounts.
Prior to the attack, the group posted BART contact information in a post on Tumblr, urging its members and followers to bombard BART with emails and faxes. It also called for Twitter followers to file complaints with the FCC.
The hacker group released a statement on Sunday via a YouTube video that explained the organization’s reasoning for the attack. Here’s an except from the statement and the video (embedded below):
“In the Bay Area, we’ve seen people gagged, and once more, Anonymous will attempt to show those engaging in censorship what it feels like to be silenced. #Operation BART is an operation geared toward balance — toward learning. You do not censor people because they wish to speak out against the wrongful occurrences around them (via mcconnell). The Bay Area Rapid Transit has made the conscious decision of ordering various cell phone companies to terminate services for the downtown area inhibiting those in the area from using cell phones — even in the case of an emergency.”
To complement its other actions planned against BART, Anonymous is planning a protest set for 5 p.m. PT on Monday at the Civic Center BART station.
The group is organizing via its @YourAnonNews Twitter account and other social and mobile methods. According to tweets from the account, the protest will be livestreamed via Qik and the organizers will have a mobile hotspot set up.
Anonymous explained on its blog, “We sincerely hope that this series of actions will serve as a warning to BART and every public organization in the USA to NOT engage in this sort of dangerous and human rights violating behavior.”