WiFi on planes

NSA’s long reaching hands have been very long and their prying eyes were even inside commercial airlines. Companies were sharing all inflight WiFi data used by domestic airline’s customers aboard the plane. This was revealed in a leaked letter by Gogo which is the largest onboard WiFi provider in the US. The letter was leaked to Wired and is written by Karis A. Hastings, Counsel for Gogo LLC, and is written in July 2012. The letter is for Federal Communications Commissionin which it reveals that it violated Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA) by implementing added functionalities in its communication design in cooperation with law enforcement agencies.

“In designing its existing network, Gogo worked closely with law enforcement to incorporate functionalities and protections that would serve public safety and national security interests.”

“Nevertheless, Gogo worked with federal agencies to reach agreement regarding a set of additional capabilities to accommodate law enforcement interests. Gogo then implemented those functionalities into its system design.”

Gogo also revealed in the letter that other such service providers also made similar arrangements.

“Gogo understands that other providers of in-flight communications have reached similar agreements.”

According to an earlier report, published in December, similar arrangements were also made by Panasonic Avionics, another inflight communications service provider, with law enforcement agencies.

Civic liberties organizations are crying foul over these recent leaks. Peter Eckersley of the Electronic Frontier Foundation told Wired: “Having ISPs [now] that say that CALEA isn’t enough, we’re going to be even more intrusive in what we collect on people is, honestly, scandalous.”

Obama administration has come under huge pressure after the leaks were initially made by Edward J. Snowden and they have started taking steps to appease the public. These steps include: stopping the personal data collection of world leaders; proposing an end to bulk data collection by NSA; and proposing a law that will enforce NSA to take a court order before demanding data from service providers.

With every passing day, new details about the reach or breach of NSA and other law enforcement agencies comes to limelight. It seems the picture in not detailed yet and there could be more leaks on the way. One hopes such illegal activities are abandoned by law enforcement agencies which are required by law to protect it rather than breaking it.




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