It could be said that housing activists, political street artists and big corporate technology companies are all fluent in the use of different tools to raise media and public attention. No cynicism intended; I’ve been wondering when the seemingly dormant political and social action establishment in San Francisco would emerge to leave its imprint on the ongoing developments concerning the lack of affordable housing in the city, the fallout on some tenants being forced out of their quarters by the current frenzied demand ongoing during the grab for almost any rental property, at almost any price.
— sfsthetik (@sfsthetik) April 13, 2014s
Mission Local reports that an estimated group of 200 people walked to and protested against the conversion of a seven-unit rental apartment building on Guerrero St. that was bought and converted to a private residence, owned by a Google lawyer, Jack Halprin, two years ago. Several signs in the crowd read “Google, don’t be evil. Make Jack Halprin stop evicting teachers,”
Teachers Ask Google Why a Google Lawyer Is Evicting Tenants
— sfsthetik (@sfsthetik) April 13, 2014
I don’t have an idea when or if the protests will continue, grow in numbers or get more media attention. I do know there are many forces for change in San Francisco who have had an important role to play in building the city’s future and have long made a difference in what happens during critical times in the city.
On October 28, Ukrainians will elect their parliament. With the current president‘s main political opponent in jail, the upcoming elections come under increasing attention from the international community.
Amidst mounting allegations of the ruling party’s use of administrative resource during election campaign, the current Ukrainian government has pledged to keep the elections free and fair and accommodated over 3,700 international observers.
Ukraine’s Ministry of the Interior has decided to utilize crowdmapping and set up an Ushahidi-based map of registered violations [uk]. According to the officials, the aim of their initiative is to “help society form an objective opinion about the course of the 2012 election-related events” [uk].
To ensure electoral transparency and to check the government’s pledges for themselves, local election monitoring groups, too, have been using new technology.
Chinese artist and dissident Ai Weiwei has a metaphor for the travel ban that will prevent him attending the growing number of exhibitions of his work being held around the world as his renown increases. “I can swim, but not far,” Ai told AFP of the ban on leaving China imposed last week despite the…
As we noted in an earlier post, EFF received the first batch of records from the DOJ in our FOIA lawsuit related to Section 215 of the PATRIOT Act yesterday. The government released approximately 300 pages of records to EFF, but (not surprisingly) none of those records shed any light on the information…
In response to an August 2011 shutdown of wireless service by public transportation officials in San Francisco, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has announced plans to review whether or not they need to establish rules to govern when law enforcement and other public service agencies can…
The first American government run transit agency to shut off public cell phone usage and receive world-wide media attention for its actions is set to vote tomorrow on a long term enforcement policy that will govern how it can and cannot control cell and internet data mobile traffic.On August 11 BART shut off mobile phone in a number of Downtown San Francisco terminals after a protest started over the death of a man shot by BART police officers. On October 27th the BART Board of Directors voted to come up with a long term(maft cell phone interruption policy. (video: Microsoft Silverlight required.)
BART states that it’s motivation is “providing safe, efficient and reliable public transit services. BART adds in the draft policy that it is fully committed to its long standing to allowing the exercise of First Amendment rights of expression “in the areas where it can be done safely and without interference of the District’s primary mission.” In accordance with these principles, BART’s document says, “it shall be the policy of the (BART) district that the district may implement a temporary interruption of operation of the System’s Cellular equipment only when it determines that there is strong evidence of imminent unlawful activity that threatens the safety of District passengers, employees and other members of the public, the destruction of District property or the substantial disruption of public transit services.”
I’m not a lawyer and will not attempt to suggest all of the legal areas potentially raised by such a policy if it were adopted. A couple of interesting things include how the language excludes a definition of who will have the authority to make these decisions, that the phrasing concerning what would amount to a disruption may be intentionally vague, and it is curious why BART did not include data networks also accessible from it’s transit system, such as the internet, email, audio and video as well as voice over IP.
Several non-profit media, technology, telecommunications advocacy and public interest groups have joined in filing an Emergency Petition before the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to issue a Declaratory Ruling in this case.
Public Knowledge, Broadband Institute of California, Center for Democracy and Technology, Center for Media Justice, Electronic Frontier Foundation, Media Access Project, Minority Media and Telecommunications Council, National Hispanic Media Coalition, and the New America Foundation’s Open Technology Initiative are all joining together suggesting that no local government including San Francisco has the authority to suspend cell phone service and that BART may have violated the Communications Act of 1934 in its actions of August 11th.
Those interested in protecting freedom of speech everywhere will be watching to see how BART acts, and what, if anything the FCC will do in this matter. There may be legislative and court relief sought. This is not happening in Egypt, Iran or Libya. This is San Francisco, California, America.
BART Board Room
Kaiser Center 20th Street Mall
344 20th Street
The meeting is open to the public.