TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Feds Want to Eavesdrop on Airborne Internet Users

Feds Want to Eavesdrop on Airborne Internet Users

Consumer (
Sun, 17 Jul 2005 23:18:17 -0500

Federal law enforcement agencies say they're all in favor of airline
passengers being able to surf the Web and send and receive emails, as
long as the feds are able to listen in.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and other agencies have told
the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) they want to be able to
iintercept, block or divert email and other airborne communications,
after obtaining a court order. Internet providers would be required to
enable government monitoring within 10 minutes of an order being

DHS wants the providers to be able to identify Internet users by their
seat number and to retain complete records of passengers' Internet
usage for at least 24 hours.

The government fears that terrorists could use the Internet to
coordinate attacks and even detonate remote-controlled explosive
devices on airplanes using airborne Internet.

In a filing with the FCC, DHS said federal agencies have only "a short
window of opportunity" to detect and thwart suidical terrorist
hijackings or other crisis situations. The proposed requirements go
well beyond those imposed on earthbound Internet providers but DHS
said the potential danger of airborne attacks justifies the measures.

The FCC has been studying the technical issues involved in providing
Internet and cell phone access on commercial airliners. A few
international carriers already offer such service.

Copyright 2003-2005 ConsumerAffairs.Com Inc.

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