The Feds want EZSubpoena, technical changes to airplane broadband: When terrorists are using Connexion, Tenzing, or other in-flight Internet services, federal authorities don't want to wait for operators to tap into data streams when presented with a subpoena. They asked last Tuesday, according to Wired News, for the FCC to make sure that in-flight Internet is as easy to tap as telephone lines. Of course, any smart person of any stripe is using encryption to protect their data, but sometimes the destination of packets--not just their content--is enough to provide useful clues.
The Justice Department wants several difficult technical details to be handled. Cutting off access to specific users or the whole plane without affecting the control cabin isn't a problem, but asking for Wi-Fi-connected users to be identified by seat number is awfully tricky. It might require a change to the login procedure or the addition of new software, if it would work at all in an area with such high reflection. Finally, Justice wants cargo areas to be shielded from Wi-Fi.