This Day in Tech: BART shuts down cell service to stop protests

Too busy to keep up with the tech news? Here are some of the more interesting stories from CNET for Friday, August 12.

Too busy to keep up with the tech news? Here are some of the more interesting stories from CNET for Friday, August 12.

Flyer for Anonymous' anti-BART campaign, following cell service suspension. It references former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, who was ousted after demonstrations earlier this year that involved the use of mobile phones and social media by protesters. Anonymous

• Bay Area Rapid Transit, a regional transportation system in the San Francisco area, cut wireless service prior to a planned protest at four downtown San Francisco subway stops. Activists were responding to a shooting by a BART police officer, but their protest seems never to have materialized because of the disruption of cell service. "BART staff or contractors shut down power to the nodes and alerted the cell carriers," James Allison, deputy chief communications officer for BART, told CNET's Elinor Mills . In a blog post, the ACLU of Northern California said this: "Shutting down access to mobile phones is the wrong response to political protests, whether it's halfway around the world or right here in San Francisco." The organization was referencing reports from earlier in the week that rioters in London have been using BlackBerry devices to communicate.

• Facebook will change its gaming system to make it easier to play existing games and to play new ones.

• On that note, with all the Facebook changes , if you want to make sure your profile page is still private, check out Dennis O'Reilly's how-to: "One setting I recommend you disable is Instant Personalization, which shares your Facebook doings with companies Facebook has chosen as its partners."

• Ever dropped a phone? While there are cases to protect against destruction, Amazon.com CEO Jeff Bezos is thinking even bigger than that: He's filed a patent for a phone air bag.

• Pandora might help bring in a long list of relevant songs for the listener, but with the company's stock price down 50 percent from its high, a tech analyst says Pandora is dramatically overvalued.

• If you're looking to install solar panels , this year the cost has gone down 20 percent. What might be good for home owners, is bad for the manufacturers. According to Lux Research, solar power is being installed at 15.5 percent per year, but revenues haven't exactly followed the same trajectory. This might open up the chance for the solar panel leasing model to grow.

• The ultimate deal finder is available on 8coupons for iOS, an app that aggregates coupons available on Groupon and Restaurant.com.

• Kid-friendly flicks are available through Netflix. The company's Web site features a new tab: "Just for Kids."


 

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