Fears of technology lead to policy: San Francisco's train service blocked out cell phone coverage on Thursday, to ward off an anticipated protest. (A job they should have outsourced to AT+T, which is experienced in cutting Bay Area coverage)
Said protest was aimed at a police shooting. It's hard to say if crowds would have turned dangerous, but police had a term for what they expected:
Andy Alkire told Bay City News that while it was unusual to kill cell phone service, it was "a great tool to utilize for this specific purpose" with the agency facing a potentially volatile situation.
BART itself used different language:
Organizers planning to disrupt BART service on August 11, 2011 stated they would use mobile devices to coordinate their disruptive activities and communicate about the location and number of BART Police. A civil disturbance during commute times at busy downtown San Francisco stations could lead to platform overcrowding and unsafe conditions for BART customers, employees and demonstrators.
Were fears of London-style riots in mind? What about anxiety concerning cell phones' various effects?
Interestingly, this might not have been a police plan to start with:
KTVU reported that BART's media relations department suggested cutting off the cell service during the protests.
Which might backfire, if Anonymous gets going. If something happens from that source, then this story obtains another level of digital fear!
(thanks to Ryan Brazell, Steven Kaye and others)