Does The Gov Have the Authority to Block Cell Phone Usage During Emergencies? - Fordham Intellectual Property, Media & Entertainment Law Journal
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Does The Gov Have the Authority to Block Cell Phone Usage During Emergencies?

Does The Gov Have the Authority to Block Cell Phone Usage During Emergencies?

A number of consumer advocates and digital civil rights groups, including the Electronic Frontier Foundation, have filed an emergency petition asking the FCC to review whether a government agency has the authority to close down channels of communication in the event of an emergency.  This petition comes a little over a month after the Bay Area Rapid Transit system, or BART, shut down all cell phone communication, when citizens of the area organized on August 11th to protest the shooting of a passenger by BART authorities.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation has noted that the decision to provide cell phone service in BART tunnels over a decade ago stemmed from the close connection of the San Francisco Community with passengers on United Airlines Flight 93, who found out via cell phone calls that the World Trade Center and the Pentagon had been attacked and then decided to thwart the hijackers on their flight.  Additionally, critics of BART’s cell phone service shutdown have compared this incident to the telecommunication blockage tactics used to thwart riots in Libya and Syria.

Daniela Alvarado

Daniela Alvarado is a 3L at Fordham Law and IPLJ’s very own Symposium Editor. She is an avid Central Park runner, enjoyer of West Coast sunshine, and internet troller. Daniela’s note on the first sale doctrine was published in IPLJ Volume XXII Book 4. She hopes to one day pursue a career involving technology and the law.