Monday, June 06, 2005

On the dangers of in-flight communication

There has recently been a big discussion around the FCC's plans to allow cell-phone use on flights. The FBI, DoJ and DHS think there is a security threat with phone use, since terrorists could potentially coordinate action with them. See here and here for a good analysis (from Educated Guesswork) debunking that theory.

But at the same time, no one seems too concerned about internet access on the planes which, if anything, should be even more dangerous, since the FBI can't snoop on encrypted IP packets like they can with voice calls. The NY Times reports today on United's plans (registration reqd.) to roll out Wi-Fi. And nary a peep on "security" issues.

2 Comments:

Anonymous Cpr said...

I don't see how simplifying the use of an already available mode of communication (voice from a plane) can be viewed as a new security threat. United already has those verizon air-phones or so in place (has had them for years now). People don't use them much for various reasons. Unless we're worried about the "starving terrorists" category who might only now find affordable detonation, we should see no other new threat!
I guess the other possibility is that the aforementioned could in the past have found himself flying Y and the air-phone that's meant for the use of his row could've been in use by his co-passenger, thereby thwarting his explosive plans. You could argue that the guarantee of a private cellphone would allay such fears of his, making it a bad idea for the FAA. Be my guest.

6/06/2005 12:57 PM  
Blogger Prasanna said...

anand said...(but originally in the wrong post):

Strange. Passing strange. I have hardly ever seen air-phones being used by any of my co-passengers. Could it be that the FCC has no idea that the Internet can be used for, ummm..., information exchange?

6/10/2005 8:17 PM  

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