No, In-Flight Internet Is Not A Terrorist Threat
from the panic-stations! dept
The New York Times noticed over the weekend that some US airlines have begun offering in-flight WiFi, and that not everybody's happy about it (via Wolfe's Den ). There are the usual comments about passengers being annoying by making loud VoIP calls or not turning down the volume on YouTube videos, but inserted in is the unchallenged statement from a flight attendants' union spokesman saying it fears "terrorists plotting a scheme on a plane could use Wi-Fi to communicate with one another on board and with conspirators on the ground." As Glenn Fleishman points out, this is only slightly ridiculous. If you're a terrorist, you're hardly likely to se a ban on in-flight phone use as an impediment to communications, while the airplane's WiFi system doesn't enable any on-board communication that wouldn't be possible with other technologies like Bluetooth, or even ad-hoc WiFi networks. There are plenty of more legitimate reasons to dislike in-flight WiFi, but the suggestion that it's making planes unsafe is a fairly hollow one.