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64 Federal Communications Law Journal 577 (2012)


The balancing act between protecting First Amendment rights and the necessity of law enforcement to maintain the public order is not simple under normal circumstances. On August 11, 2011, San Francisco's Bay Area Rapid Transit ("BART") created a paradigm embodying the very essence of this problem by shutting down cell phone and Internet service to prevent citizens from organizing and planning a protest. Both the constitutional and telecommunications law implications of BART's cell phone and Internet shutdown beg for analysis and reform, especially in an age of rapidly advancing technology. This Note analyzes the legal implications of BART's shutdown, and sets forth a proposal to conform current technology and the law by recognizing the principle of a "virtual forum" comprised of the Internet and telecommunications networks.