updated 12:25 pm EDT, Fri October 3, 2008
Delta to Filter Wi-Fi
Delta will filter the content on its in-flight Wi-Fi service, the airline said today. Although the company has previously been concerned about the ramifications of active censorship on its GoGo-based service and has intended to rely on attendants alone to screen out adult sites and other material that might make some passengers uncomfortable, it now says it will implement a content filter that automatically blocks certain sites before they reach cellphones, notebooks and other devices capable of a Wi-Fi link.
The transportation firm stresses that its system won't be over-broad, as with the filtering systems at some workplaces, and will be limited only to sites that are almost unambiguously objectionable for public viewing. Other carriers, including American Airlines, are implementing similar policies, though in most cases are relying more on staff than on computer-controlled systems.
Delta's effort follows concerns from both passengers and stewards about some customers potentially viewing sites before a timely response is possible. Critics have charged that any censorship would affect free speech and personal use rights.