Government & Politics
10:01 am
Tue August 14, 2012

Legislature Approves Bill Requiring Court Order to Shut Down Cell Phone Service

The California legislature has passed a bill that would ban interruptions to cell phone or wireless service without a court order. The measure comes in response to a controversy last year involving transit officials in San Francisco.

Last year, protesters at a Bay Area Rapid Transit subway station in downtown San Francisco discovered they suddenly didn’t have any cell phone service. BART officials concerned about the protest had cut it off. That move sparked wider protests – and it also prompted a bill from Democratic State Senator Alex Padilla.

“There’s laws on the books that speak exactly to that – but unfortunately, those laws on the books have not kept up with technology," said Padilla.

Current law requires a court order to shut down conventional phone service. Padilla would extend that same requirement to cell phone or wireless internet service.

“The ability to maintain communications is paramount and the threshold for deserving that court order to shut down service needs to be maintained,” said Padilla.

The bill passed without any no votes. It now heads to the desk of Governor Jerry Brown.

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