Will Anonymous Cripple San Francisco Again?S

One week ago, for the duration of rush hour, officials shut down all four downtown San Francisco BART stations — the heart of the commuter subway system — in response to a small protest by Anonymous. Today, the hacktivists are back. Whether the chaos returns is up to BART.

There's another Anonymous protest scheduled tonight at the same time, in the same place as the last ones. BART officials said they might close stations again, but it's completely unclear why that's necessary. Last week's protest was, by all accounts, tidy, with maybe 50 or 30 Anonymous protesters, who seemed to be quickly overwhelmed by police and media. The only mayhem they directly wreaked was online, where a lone member of the decentralized online collective hacked into a database containing information on BART police officers.

If BART wants to empower Anonymous, it should just keep lending unnatural power to the group's real world protests while maintaining lax security online. Then the agency can become a perfect textbook case of how not to fight a cybermob.

[Photo of protesters last week via Getty Images]