In their latest effort, the online-collective Anonymous breached the Website of the San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) System.
In a statement, BART claims to have suffered a compromise in which some 2,400 of their 55,000 members were affected.
The leaked information includes names, email addresses and passwords, and in some cases, this information was paired with phone numbers and home addresses. BART ensures their members that no financial information was compromised in the breach, and they are offering the complementary credit monitoring services that have become customary after sensitive consumer data gets compromised.
“BART has proved multiple times that they have no problem exploiting and abusing the people,” said Anonymous in their own statement.
Anonymous is calling their latest crusade OpBART, and as is standard when the group publishes misappropriated data, with the compromise comes the explanatory manifesto. Among the justifications for this data dump are “two shootings by BART police” and what the group perceives as a violation of public safety and “the people’s right to assembly” by blocking cell phone signals in protest areas.
Protests of San Francisco’s Bay Area Rapid Transit System are the result of questionable activities involving BART’s police force according to a CNN report, of particularly concern though, was the alleged shooting death of Charles Hill (45) by a BART police officer. The situation is eerily similar to the alleged shooting of Mark Duggan by London police and the subsequent protests, which many speculate was the catalyst for the riots that continue to rage throughout London.
The preemptive move to disable cell-phone service was seen by many as a response, perhaps a bit of a heavy-handed one, to riot-inciting flash-mobs, many orchestrated via social networks, which wreaked havoc across London last week. On a smaller scale, there have also been reports of a similar phenomenon taking place in the States, where flash-mobs turn violent, or, perhaps more nefariously, are being used to draw attention away from premeditated crimes that are taking place in the vicinity.
Specifically, digital rights group, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) decried the move in a recent blog post titled, “BART Pulls a Mubarek in San Francisco.” In that post, the EFF calls such a disruption of cell phone service in response to planned protest a “shameful attack on free speech.” As the title hints, the post draws a connection between BART’s decision and that of former Egyptian president, Hosni Mubarek, who, in ealry February, severed his nations ties with the internet in order to quell peaceful protests in Tahrir Square.
Regarding Anonymous’s statement, it is similar to others the group has released, including one earlier this month in which they dumped ten gigs of sensitive law enforcement data, in that it makes use of pop-culture references to push their seemingly anti-government agenda. Thus far they have alluded to British folk-hero, Guy Fawkes, and the loosely related movie, “V for Vendetta,” revolutionary rap group, Dead Prez, and now, American comic icon, George Carlin, with the following quotation:
“Sooner or later the people in this country gotta realize the government does not give a fuck about them. The government doesn’t care about you, or your children, or your rights, or your welfare, or your safety, it simply doesn’t give a fuck about you. It’s interested in its own power, that’s the only thing, keeping it and expanding it wherever possible.”
In a strange aversion from the norm, Anonymous apologized to the innocent BART members whose data was breached and published.