updated 12:55 pm EST, Wed December 26, 2007
Airline Internet filtering
As airlines begin resuming in-flight Internet services, some have already decided to filter what passengers can do, writes the Associated Press. American Airlines -- confirming plans -- will be joined by Alaska Airlines in soon blocking access to VoIP services such as Skype, while companies such as Virgin America are currently contemplating a ban. The problem is that VoIP not only consumes large amounts of bandwidth, but may generate tremendous noise in a cabin from numerous ongoing conversations. Wi-Fi-enabled handsets could help circumvent the bandwidth concern.
None of the above three airlines have any plans to filter websites, but the technology has already been developed by companies such as OnAir and Panasonic. The worry is that some users may slow down connections with large downloads, while others may attempt to browse violent or sexual webpages within eyesight of children. Companies such as Wi-Fi provider Aircell, however, believe that "decency and good sense and normal behavior" will likely be enough to induce self-censorship.