Fly the Unfriendly Skies – Feds Want Broad In-Flight Internet-Tapping Anti-Terror Access for Fly-Fi
0 (0)

The Internet Patrol - Patrolling the Internet for You
Rate this post!
 

Ever since the FCC approved wireless Internet access on U.S. flights, the promise of fly-fi on domestic flights has titillated U.S. passengers. Up until then, fly-fi had eluded domestic U.S. flights, although fly-fi has been available on European and Asian flights for some time now.

However, a proposal by the Feds designed to help combat terrorism may take a little joy out of the prospect of accessing your email at 30,000 feet. The Feds are proposing broad in-flight Internet tapping powers, restrained only by the fact that they would need to produce a court order to have the tap started.


Now, in theory one would think that such a check and balance – the need for a court order – would be sufficient to protect the rights of the average citizen. But in these days of terror-induced homeland security frenzy, it’s easy to imagine that obtaining a court order for an Internet tap would be fairly simple. In fact, it’s kind of hard to imagine a scenario in which such a request wouldn’t be granted in the current climate. Have two people who fit the right (or wrong, as the case may be) profile on the same flight? Can’t have them communicating with each other privately in-flight, can we?

If the Fed’s proposal, filed this week with the FCC, is granted, in-flight fly-fi tapping would have to be enabled within ten minutes of the airline receiving the court order. Other such rules require that a communications carrier respond “promptly”, however here the Feds want a very specific limit of ten minutes.

Explain the Feds in joint comments submitted earlier this month to the FCC by the Department of Homeland Security, Department of Justice, and the FBI, “There is no room for such uncertainty in the air-to-ground context where delays of minutes and seconds could make the difference between life and death for passengers and crew aloft and those on the ground below. Given the nature of both air travel and air-to-ground communications, any historical, terrestrially-based interpretation of the term “promptlyâ€? is, in the Departments’ view, not adequate in this context. There is a short window of opportunity in which action can be taken to thwart a suicidal terrorist hijacking or remedy other crisis situations onboard an aircraft, and law enforcement needs to maximize its ability to respond to these potentially lethal situations. Thus, defining or interpreting “promptlyâ€? in a way that is meaningful relative to this unique context is critical. Accordingly, the Departments request that the Commission specify that, in the context of an air-to-ground intercept, the CALEA [Ed. Note: Communications Assistance to Law Enforcement Act] term “promptlyâ€? be defined as “forthwith, but in no circumstance more than 10 minutesâ€? from the moment of notification to the telecommunications carrier of lawful authority to intercept or otherwise conduct lawful electronic surveillance to the moment of real-time transmission to law enforcement or other authorized government agents.”

No Paywall Here!
The Internet Patrol is and always has been free. We don't hide our articles behind a paywall, or restrict the number of articles you can read in a month if you don't give us money. That said, it does cost us money to run the site, so if something you read here was helpful or useful, won't you consider donating something to help keep the Internet Patrol free?
Click for amount options
Other Amount:
What info did you find here today?:

 

In addition, the Feds want to require that all airlines must maintain full records of all Internet transmission for 24 hours “in order to afford law enforcement a reasonable opportunity to secure lawful process to compel disclosure of the records before their destruction by the provider or carrier.”

Regardless of where you fall along the spectrum of feelings about such actions, it kinda takes some of the fun out of wifing high, doesn’t it?

No Paywall Here!
The Internet Patrol is and always has been free. We don't hide our articles behind a paywall, or restrict the number of articles you can read in a month if you don't give us money. That said, it does cost us money to run the site, so if something you read here was helpful or useful, won't you consider donating something to help keep the Internet Patrol free?
Click for amount options
Other Amount:
What info did you find here today?:

Rate this post!
 

2 thoughts on “Fly the Unfriendly Skies – Feds Want Broad In-Flight Internet-Tapping Anti-Terror Access for Fly-Fi
0 (0)

  1. Give it a rest. I am a strong proponent of civil rights but geez. Pick your battles, whining about this is almost as stupid as the clowns who proposed this in the first place. Anyone conducting sensitive business on a cellular or tapable system these days is in real need of a IQ upgrade.

  2. If it helps to make sure that my family or I get where we are going safely I really don’t care. Quit your whining.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.