back to article Vandal posts official's nude pic to protest cell shutdown

Online vandals protesting the recent shutdown of cellphone service at San Francisco subway stations posted a nude photo of the transit agency spokesman who took responsibility for the highly controversial move. The image of Linton Johnson, chief spokesman for Bay Area Rapid Transit, was posted Wednesday afternoon to a page on …


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  1. Anonymous Coward


    Pretty sure threatening a public official with embarassing photos in an attempt to force them to take an action related to their official duties (i.e. quitting) falls under the felony extortion statutes somewhere.

    1. JimC

      Under UK law I'm damn sure it would be blackmail

      I'm also somewhat suprised that no-one has mentioned the possibility of photoshop...

      1. Neil Brown

        I'd be less "damn sure" :)

        Perhaps an *arguable* case of blackmail, but I wouldn't stake anything on it being a clear cut case.

        The offence of blackmail is set out in s21, Theft Act 1968:

        One of the requirements is that the act in question must be performed "with a view to gain for himself or another or with intent to cause loss to another."

        s34(2)(a), Theft Act 1968 provides that "“gain” and “loss” are to be construed as extending only to gain or loss in money or other property." The gain or loss can be temporary, but they must relate to money or property. (

        Here, there is not necessarily a clear monetary / proprietary gain obtained by the person who posted the image (or threatening to release it), nor monetary / proprietary loss suffered by Johnson. One could argue the loss of salary resulting from a resignation constitutes a monetary loss, but it is perhaps questionable would be considered direct enough to be classified as a loss - and, in any case, likely only applicable to the person threatening to release the images if he does not resign, rather than the person actually displaying the posters.

        Well, my thoughts, anyway.

  2. Jan 0
    Big Brother


    Just what does the word vandals add to this story?

    What's wrong with "people"?

    1. 404

      Rabble RABBLE!

      We Vandals are a Proud Eastern Germanic Tribe and are happy when our name is mentioned and remembered. We Matter! We pwned Rome back in the day - beware of The Vandals.


  3. JaitcH

    Now we want pictures of Cameron - and an offer he might find hard to refuse

    Given that Cameron has threatened to disable cell systems, a very easy exercise achieved by changed users Class of Service, perhaps some of his drinking buddies in Oxford or girlfriends have some pictures that ,could be donated to the public domain.

    That the Western governments support Arab Spring and protest when Middle East governments limit messaging systems and close down cell systems illustrates what a two-faced hypocrite he is.


    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Shoot Instead? Or protect fools from the consequences of Stupidity.

      Thanks JaitcH, for a very basic silly cheap shot but if it is repeated frequently enough then some dimwit will agree.

      Time for a reality check, a few crazy hooligans decided to riot and simply destroy property for the hell of it. So what should happen?

      a) Let the hooligans do what they want?

      b) Shoot them on sight? - just like the repressive lot that Jaitchi favours

      c) Try to limit the ability of the hooligans to sucker in those who would not otherwise riot.

      Nicking a few computers/TVs/Bottles of water is not my idea of a political movement, but hey each to his or her own.

      One thing that silly people have missed is that a huge number of people have ended up drawn into criminal activity that they would not have indulged in otherwise.

      A number of people were murdered.

      Now some citizens will 'enjoy' gaol, while many will suffer a criminal record that they should have avoided by not being drawn into the mess.

      So, by limiting such daft 'communications' as Idiotbook, 'TwitsRUs' and any other junkword efforts a few may be better able to enjoy a fruitful life, sounds like a bargain to me.

      1. Anonymous Coward

        to AC: Thursday 25th August 2011 08:41 GMT

        First you allowed the govt to shut down the interwebs when some mindless idiots rioted and you rejoiced and gave them "permission" to do it whenever they wanted.

        Then the govt went bad and you found that you were unable to do anything about it (see above).

        Be very careful what you wish for...

      2. Anonymous Coward

        What a load of bollocks

        If people receive a message inviting them to participate in criminal activity it's their responsibility to decline. If they decide otherwise then they lay themselves open to sanctions, but it shouldn't be within the powers of politicians or police to institute a blanket shut-down of civil communications.

        1. Anonymous Coward

          Fools should suffer the consequences

          It continues to surprise me that commentators keep suggesting similarities’ between the NikeBerry riots in the UK, and insurrection in the Arabic countries. The Arabic protestors are protesting for freedom (of amongst other things speech), where as in the UK……….

          The pragmatic solution in the UK would be to limit the communications of the participants during the events, does this affect free speech, who knows? On the other hand as suggested above it is a pragmatic tactical approach to limiting the trouble.

          However I think it unfortunate that a few of these idiots didn’t suffer a little more than custodial sentences. So they get to lay about at HMP expense, playing play stations and so on, costing yet more than they did doing the same thing on the dole. So let them keep their messaging, but I do think a far more robust response was required from the authorities.

  4. Anonymous Coward

    He needs to...

    ...fite dem back, obv.

  5. jake Silver badge

    The stupid fucking skiddies have no real argument.

    Only a .gov can truely be a censor. Besides, there are plenty of public and emergency communications offerings that don't require cell service when you are inside the BART system. There is no, I repeat NO, loss of communications with the outside world within the BART system when cell service is cut.

    BART killing cell phone service after the ticket gates is roughly the same as me killing WiFi on my barn's DSL modem(1) because my network is hard-wired and I don't need the potential extra hassle. Are the protesters going to picket my barn?

    Or perhaps the protesters can point to where, exactly, in the contract they enter into when purchasing a ticket to enter the BART system it states "we guarantee a continuation of your cellular service, even though we're not in the cell service business"?

    Are they going to protest banning cell service on Airlines? Because aircraft ask you to turn it all off for the same reason BART kills the service ... public safety. It's only a matter of time before someone in a crowded BART station gets pushed into an oncoming train, thanks to the influx of asshole who have absolutely no intent of actually using the BART system as it was intended.

    Try to remember, before most of you were born we did just fine without cell phone service. Or the Internet, for that matter ...

    The asshole protesters are just troublemakers They are pretty much the Bay Area's equivalent of your British chavs ... You see the same faces protesting cutting "old growth", outside military recruitment offices, during the "critical mess" bicyclistatard protests, the anti fee hikes in college tuition protests, etc. etc. Funniest thing is that when arrested, NONE of them have Bay Area, and most don't even have California home address ...

    [1] So-called "smart phones" can't access cell sites here at the ranch. Their transmitters aren't strong enough, nor are their receivers sensitive enough. My cell phone[2], on the other hand, works just fine. Our clients are free to pick up any land-line, none of which can make long-distance calls[3], for any reason they like.

    [2] 10 year old Nokia.

    [3] Before you say it, emergency calls aren't long distance ...

    1. anon9045839452

      Your barn doesn't matter

      1) People dont pay money for wifi service in your barn

      2) The infrastructure is already in place for cellular service, turning it off is silly

      3) What they did was pretty funny

      Why are you so butthurt over this guy getting owned so bad?

      1. jake Silver badge


        "1) People dont pay money for wifi service in your barn"

        Uh ... duh? They don't pay for radio links on BART, either ...

        "2) The infrastructure is already in place for cellular service, turning it off is silly"

        Protecting random people (commuters) who don't give a rat's ass about whatever j-random-idiot is protesting about is silly? What colo(u)r is the sky on your planet?

        "3) What they did was pretty funny"

        Oh. I see. Skiddies "getting away with it" is funny. Hilarious. ::cough-cough::

        "Why are you so butthurt over this guy getting owned so bad?"

        Gawd/ess. The mind boggles. Do us all a favo(u)r? Please grow up. Ta.

        1. Anonymous Coward


          "Uh ... duh? They don't pay for radio links on BART, either ..."

          So these magically appeared out of thin air then? Wow.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      on totally missing the point!

    3. Aitor 1 Silver badge


      1. BART is a public service. It is a Transit District, therefore public, it even has its own police.

      2.Censoring is not the exclusive right of government. anyone can censor: I can censor what my kids see, read, etc (or try to).

      3.Public servents censoring communications is one of the worst things that can happen to a Democracy. Because without it, you really don't have it.

      4.Of course I am not siding with idiots or professional protesters. I am just saying that what is wrong, is wrong. I also think that Mubarak censoring internet and mobiles was wrong, and it is that type of person who takes those decisions.

    4. Anonymous Coward


      "Only a .gov can truely be a censor."

      In a free society the state should not censor. Making folks responsible for what they say...that's a job for society (usually via the state as its agent, but does not have to be).

      "I repeat NO, loss of communications with the outside world within the BART system when cell service is cut."

      Does this really hold true for Joe Public? I don't think it does. And I am not surprised that essential services have back-up/parallel networks; one would have to be monumentally stupid to have a single point of failure.

      "BART killing cell phone service after the ticket gates is roughly the same as me killing WiFi on my barn's DSL modem(1)"

      Not true, unless you're running some kind of "public barn" bought and paid for by the people. As it is a private barn on private land, you can do what you want.

      "when purchasing a ticket to enter the BART system it states"

      Because the people bought that service as it was them who funded BART (and I do not mean by ticket sales).

      "Are they going to protest banning cell service on Airlines?"

      It's not a publicly funded public space, so it's not the same; is it?

      "Try to remember, before most of you were born we did just fine without cell phone service."

      About the first true thing you've said. But this does not make it morally acceptable for the state to silence the people just because it is convenient.

      "The asshole protesters are just troublemakers"

      Ah, so someone who says something you do not agree with is an asshole. Nice. You do realise people that some people had a revolt and then a civil war over (amongst other things) you right to say what you want?

      "the anti fee hikes in college tuition protests"

      Well, seeing as the only way to stop a nation sliding into poverty is to educate the peolpe so they can innovate and generate revenue for the nation; I'd say easy access to decent education is a "Good Thing"(tm). I'll ignore the other (freedom of assembly etc) as it's getting tedious rebutting you.

      I do not live in the USA, but I do live in another Western nation. I am becoming increasingly alarmed at the actions of the state to silence/control the people. We are sliding into demagogy, if we have not done so already.

      The state is the servant of the people. The state must enact the will of the people. The state must not seek to silence or otherwise control the people merely for convenience or experience. This does not mean that people should not be held to account. if you say/do something you had bloody well be prepared to stand up for it.

      If not....*then* you're an asshole.

      And it amazes me even more that I see so many USA-ians readily embracing the kinds policies normally used by dictators in the name of "freedom". You are forgetting what freedom means, you are giving it up for convenience. Maybe that actually means you no longer deserve it.

    5. Anonymous Coward

      @jake 0825110455

      BART = Apples

      your barn = Oranges

      Compare and discuss.

      When you have a coherent argument do pop back and visit us.

      1. jake Silver badge

        @AC 11:26

        BART == private enterprise, not government.

        Barn == private enterprise, not government.

        Yes, we both have a rule enforcement[1] division. But you need that when you often have large crowds of hoi polloi hanging about, for the simple reason that mobs of people get dangerous for the stupidest of reasons.

        Obey the local rules and you don't get yourself into trouble. How hard is this to understand? It's worked for me on six continents, even under the daftest of dictatorships in supposedly civilized nations[2].

        [1] BART uses people ("cops"), I use dawgs, at least for the most part ...

        [2] That would be you, Āl Saud ...

        1. Anonymous Coward


          BART == private enterprise, not government - Providing a PUBLIC service

          Barn == private enterprise, not government. - Pretty certain you're not providing a PUBLIC service.

          In any event why should it matter whether public or private enterprise - I was under the impression that americans are supposed to cherish the 1st Amendment - Censorship by govt or enterprise is still censorship and should be opposed at all levels by all people otherwise you don't deserve freedom of speech.

          1. Figgus

            Wrong about his being wrong...

            Serving the public has nothing to do with it. Would you scream this hard about censorship if Starbucks turned off their wifi access?

            I guess I don't deserve freedom of speech because I support El Reg even though they routinely delete posts...

            BART owned the cells. BART owns the lights, and the restrooms too! BART can turn any of it off at a whim, but the customers ALWAYS have a recourse: they can stop giving BART their money if they don't like the service.

            1. Anonymous Coward

              Wrong about being Wrong about his being wrong...

              As other posters have pointed out, BART is a psuedo private enterprise given that it receives funding from tax payers so yes they [BART] are in the wrong, plain and simple.

              Starbucks is a totally private enterprise - your point is moot.

          2. jake Silver badge

            @AC 15:08

            My barn is open to the public. For a price. Just like BART.

            Free speech isn't what you think it is. Try shouting "THEATER!" in a crowded firehouse[1]. You'll get what you deserve[2].

            As for the rest of your argument, you are saying NDAs[3] are illegal and non-binding, due to first amendment rights?

            [1] Not a typo(e).

            [2] I'm a Volunteer ... we've heard that tired old joke entirely too many times ...

            [3] Non-Disclosure Agreement ... Somehow I doubt you've ever heard that phrase.

            1. Anonymous Coward

              Eh? NDA's not mentioned - get yourself some glasses son.

              I never mentioned NDA's so you're flying waaaay out on this one.

              As I said previously do come back when you've a coherent argument - toodle pip

              1. jake Silver badge

                @AC 09:18

                You were the one who brought up "corporate censorship".

                What do you think an NDA is, in this context, anyway?

                ::wanders off, muttering about "kids these days ... "::

                1. Anonymous Coward

                  double eh?

                  I never mentioned corporate censorship - I've been talking about censorship by "bodies" that are funded inpart or all by taxes of the people.

                  I refer you to the post made 25th August 2011 11:26 GMT - you had previously tried to compare tax-payer funded bodies versus non-tax payer funded bodies and I'd gently pointed out the error of your ways.

                  ::also wanders off, muttering "jeez jake must be 102 if I'm a kid"::

        2. Anonymous Coward


          "BART == private enterprise, not government.

          Barn == private enterprise, not government."

          Really? With around 30% of funding coming from taxation you think it qualifies as private? Even the directors are publicly elected. Looks public to me!

          "Obey the local rules and you don't get yourself into trouble."

          I cannot believe a resident of the USA just said that. What if the rules are wrong? Do you even understand why you have a constitution in the first place? Who whole point of the bloody thing is to be able to stand up to the state-machine and bring it to heel.

          But, y'know, maybe you prefer living in a kleptocratic demagogy rather than a democracy.

          "It's worked for me on six continents"

          This isn't about you being a guest in someone's country, this is about you allowing your state to tell you have to behave, That's not freedom in any sense of the word. Ask the Egyptians and Libyans (to pick two recent examples).

          1. jake Silver badge

            @AC 19:26

            "Really? With around 30% of funding coming from taxation you think it qualifies as private? Even the directors are publicly elected. Looks public to me!"

            Whatever. BART's a transit district, with different rules than traditional government. If you don't like BART, don't use it. Personally, I haven't paid a single cent to BART, in taxes or otherwise.

            "I cannot believe a resident of the USA just said that. What if the rules are wrong? Do you even understand why you have a constitution in the first place? Who whole point of the bloody thing is to be able to stand up to the state-machine and bring it to heel."

            The point you are missing is that the anti-BART protesters don't really understand the reality of the situation. They are being emotional instead of political. And as a direct result, those of us with an education are getting really, really tired of the commotion that does nothing more than irritate the proverbial "man in the street" ... They are harming their own supposed cause.

            The anonytwats are only exasperating the situation, adding fuel to the fire, "just for lulz", which makes me wonder about the sanity of anyone over the age of 14 who thinks the anonytwats actually have anything useful to contribute ...

            "This isn't about you being a guest in someone's country"

            I never said it was. My country is on one of those six countries. And in my humble opinion, it has the best rules & regs on public protest, world-wide.

            But being an asshole, for the sake of being an asshole, doesn't get your point across, it only makes you an asshole. It doesn't make you a revolutionary.

        3. MurrayH


          How is BART a private enterprise when:

          1) They have a *.gov web address,

          2) They use taxation/bonds for new development,

          3) and employ a police force for security, the majority of whom are able to enforce laws anywhere in the state in the same manner as a CHP officer?

          We get the idea that you don't like the protestors, or their methods.

          The issue here has nothing to do with that. The issue is if a government or government organization can suspend an existing communication network, solely on the basis of "what might happen". This was a preventionary move, not a response to actual harm or violence. This seems excessive and is hardly representative of a free society.

          1. jake Silver badge


            For part of your commentardary, see my response to AC19:26, above.

            "This seems excessive and is hardly representative of a free society."

            Show me, exactly, where BART guarantees cellular service when you purchase a ticket.

            Now show me, exactly, where BART's contract with you, as a BART ticket holder, allows you (and your so-called "friends") to raise enough of a ruckus to keep other BART system users from using the BART system the way the BART system was intended to be used?

            This isn't "civil protest", this is being assholes for the sake of being assholes.

            1. MurrayH


              Not sure what "your response to AC19:26" had to do with my post.

              I have never read a BART contract, nor do I wish to search one out on line. I never said BART guarantees me (or anyone else) cellular service on their premise. In point of fact, I don't care if they do or not. However, they do in fact have such service installed.

              The three points of my post were:

              1) BART is a government entity, via evidence offered without any counter evidence other than your assertion.

              2) It doesn't matter what your (or even my) opinion of the protests/protestors is/was/shall be. It is clear how you feel about them. Protests are designed to cause disruption and inconvenience to acheive their aims, and however you feel about them does not make your judgement uniform for everyone else (or even a majority).

              3) When the government shuts off a given service, for a specific reason (especially one they don't own like cellular service), the reasons for that action should be appropriate to the risks present. Not risks that may happen, or could happen. Government must always be checked by the people. If not, what things will be suspended or taken away next, based on nothing more than the earnest desire of government to "keep you safe"?

  6. MooseNC


    Guy looks like a dick to me.

  7. Anonymous Coward

    At what point does protest become bullying

    This kind of action can't be classed as protest.

    Bullying or intimidation yes, but protest? I'm not convinced.

    I don't support Anonymous, but surely those that do should be thinking that their tactics devalue their cause.

  8. Sir Runcible Spoon


    Note to self: I mustn't piss off Anonymous. Somewhere out there is a picture of me sporting nothing more than a tattoo and a light sabre.

    Only one, but that's all it takes these days!

    1. Ralthor

      Light Sabre.

      That really depends on:

      a) The colour of the lightsabre?


      b) Is it tastefully posed?

      1. Sir Runcible Spoon


        a) Blue

        b) No, not in the least.

        1. The Grinning Duck

          Sir, I take my hat (and only my hat) off to you.

          I think you're safe mate. Not even Anonymous would fuck with a bloke with the, umm, balls to wield a light sabre sans knacker protection. Screw anonymous, remind me not to piss you off.

  9. Rodus

    I'm starting to think

    that every american male has pointed a camera at his own penis and at least half of them appear to have then put the image on the web... WTF!!!

  10. kain preacher

    Ok one question

    BART asked the cellphone companies to put the the cell phone equipment in certain stations. If they asked that they remove the equipment permanently would you folks be upset .

    For the folks that said t hat this endangers lives um there are BART stations that cell phones don't work work why are you not complaining about that . It's not like they stopped cell phone service to the general public. Oh by the way BART asked the cell phone companies could of said no .

  11. Chain Yank


    I'm surprised no one has commented on the appropriateness of his last name. So much so that I finally made an account...

  12. Mips

    Below the belt blackmail?

    Or "no belt blackmail"?

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