Gag order against 'subway hackers' lifted

After reviewing the merits of the case, Judge George O'Toole has denied the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority's motion to issue a five-month injunction to further prevent three MIT students from talking about their subway hack.

The restraining order against the students expired on Tuesday. Judge O'Toole explained that the transit agency had no likelihood of success on the merits of the case under federal computer intrusion laws. In addition, the MBTA in filings yesterday admitted that its fare collections system did indeed have flaws and would take approximately five months to fix.

"We're very pleased that the court recognized that the MBTA's legal arguments were meritless," said EFF Legal Director Cindy Cohn, whose organization filed a motion to dismiss yesterday on behalf of students Zack Anderson, R.J. Ryan, and Alessandro Chiesa. "The MBTA's attempts to silence these students were not only misguided, but blatantly unconstitutional."

The agency's lawsuit against the students still stands, however. The EFF said it was willing to work with the MBTA, but said it would be "far better off focusing on improving the MBTA's fare payment security instead of pursuing needless litigation."

MBTA officials had no immediate comment.

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