Marry-Ann M. Boyce
Monday, March 19, 2012
Wi-Fi in the Sky People have been using airplanes to travel for many years, and weather it is for business or pleasure people always prepared themselves to be isolated from the world for the length of their flight because once they are in the airplane the know that they would not be able to communicate with the outside world. But all of that might be coming to an end with the introduction of wireless internet in many airplanes. Most airlines are now introducing, or are already offering Wi-Fi in their airplanes, but with all of the things to consider like the security treats, costs and disruptions for other passengers; we have yet to see how successful Wi-Fi in the sky is going to be. Wi-Fi being offered in airplanes will definitely make flying more pleasant for most flyers because one will be able to surf the web, stream a movie, play an online game and the most important for most people is that now it will finally be possible to see and update social networking sites while on the airplane. People are finally going to be able to check their Facebook games like Farmville and yoville. Being able to do all of this during a flight is definitely going to make flights feel shorter and more pleasant but the problem is that this is the positive side of Wi-Fi in the sky. There are many aspects of Wi-Fi in the sky that raise red flags for customers as well as for law makers, for example security concerns and cost concerns. There are mixed feelings when it comes to the security treats that come from having Wi-Fi in airplanes, some people fear that this technology can be used to plan and/or facilitate terrorist attacks while some people think that airport security and homeland security should be able to track and stop any treats before they escalate to something bigger.
“British explosives consultant Roland Alford created a stir when he told New Scientist magazine that Wi-Fi is a "Pandora's box" for terrorists and that giving passengers Internet access "gives a bomber lots of options for contacting a device on an aircraft” (Negroni). That is exactly what worries flyers and airport security the most, that terrorist would be able to control a device that is located elsewhere from the comfort of their seat or even from the ground without having to be in the flight. Also “A number of airline workers, security professionals and technologists say they agree that Wi-Fi can create serious security risks. The Association of Flight Attendants, for example, has asked the government to ban Wi-Fi” (Negroni). There are also many travelers that fail to see the risk and that are in favor of having Wi-Fi in the planes, a frequent flyer said: “I don’t think the Wi-Fi to trigger a bomb is something to worry about,” said Jon Safran, who lives in Atlanta and travels at least once a week. “I’m just not quite sure it’s technically feasible to do all that get it through security and trigger it. And I guess you’d have to be on the plane yourself dialing it in” (Negroni). Banning Wi-Fi use completely or during high security-alert periods are two of several proposals the Department of Homeland Security is considering to keep security treats to a minimum. I believe that airport security should be able to protect all of the passengers flying and that the inclusion of Wi-Fi should not compromise the security of the aircraft because dangerous devices should not make it into the airplane. If terrorist are able to find ways to get bombs or any other dangerous devices into an aircraft then I think that they should improve their security instead of worrying about internet on a plane. All of the security measures that airports have in place should be enough to protect travelers from any extra threat caused by the internet in the planes. There is also fear of terrorist using the internet to communicate with other terrorist in the ground to plan terrorist attacks but the last thing a terrorist is going to do is