Cellphones protected in BART ruling

AP file photo

An updated policy on when BART should shut down cellphone service — replete with new recommendations from the Federal Communications Commission — was approved unanimously Thursday by the agency’s board of directors.

The BART board had been discussing an official resolution since Aug. 11, when the agency drew international criticism for its decision to scramble cellphone service in an attempt to thwart a planned protest.

Although it approved an informal policy in August to only shut down service under extreme “9/11” circumstances, the agency’s board was set to vote on an official resolution in October.

However, the board delayed the vote due to concerns over the resolution’s wording.

On Thursday, a revised policy was approved unanimously by the nine-person board.

The updated resolution contains language about BART’s mission and includes guidelines recommended by the FCC.

Those additions, inserted into the resolution on Wednesday night, acknowledge that cellphones play a crucial role in the country’s economy and democracy, and that the benefits of shutting down service should outweigh the public safety risk of doing so.

wreisman@sfexaminer.com

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