December 1, 2005



The Not-So-Friendly Skies

Monday July 11th 2005, 9:50 am
Filed under: Free Speech?

Forget the prospect of cell chatter on airplanes. Broadband access is already a reality for travelers, with major carriers of Boeing birds offering ethernet ports next to the passenger tray table.

The FBI, though, they’re not too crazy about the idea.

Federal regulators are asking the FCC to regulate in-flight broadband use under the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act — the law that allows the companies to make their communications lines “wiretap-friendly.”

Officials at the FBI, Justice Department, and Department of Homeland Security claim that bad guys could use in-flight broadband connections to coordinate terrorist attacks. Ergo, the FBI wants the right to listen in on wireless transmissions at 35,000 feet (when they think they have probable cause, of course) — prior to obtaining a court order.

But here’s the catch.

Not a single US airline currently offers in-flight broadband, and none of them plan to. The broadband monitoring conducted by the FBI would be targeted entirely at foreign carriers such as Lufthansa, Singapore Airlines, and Korean Air.

Is this strategic anti-terrorism measures, or underhanded profiling?

More in Wired Magazine.



1 Comment so far

Sealing the cockpit doors (and giving the pilots their own bathroom on their side) would do a hundred times more for the security of airplanes than letting the FBI eavesdrop.

Currently, the cockpit doors are opened whenever a pilot has to pee.

Comment by Eric Jaffa 07.11.05 @ 12:12 pm



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