The WiFi Porn Party Is Over At American Airlines

American Airlines has changed its mind about its liberal anti-porn-filtering policy and will, indeed, attempt to stop that guy in a trench coat from downloading naughty content.

Why did it change its mind? Who knows. Previously, the plan was to let flight attendants be the porn police and instead only block Skype and other internet phone services.

Now the Dallas Morning News says:

American said that it is working with Aircell LLC “to implement technology to filter pornographic content over the Gogo inflight Internet service.”

Delta will also be filtering porn when it launches its own WiFi service.

American to filter out porn on its Wi-Fi [DMN via Gothamist]
(Photo: benh57 )

Comments

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  1. Sure I could agree with you, but then we'd BOTH be wrong. says:

    No VOIP, no PORN, what’s left?

    • Sure I could agree with you, but then we'd BOTH be wrong. says:

      @Dooley:

      Actually, I must say that the service is rather decent, considering that you’re 35,000 feet in the air. I had the opportunity to use the GOGO service last week on my flight from NY to LA, and I ran a speed-test..

      I got 2500 down, 250 up. Not bad!!!

      I was able to stream video from ABC.COM and watch the premiere episode of “Life on Mars” which came through clean as a whistle.

      I would probably be a little uncomfortable if the passenger next to me was watching porn, so I’m all for this move.

      • valarmorghulis says:

        @Dooley: I was actually pretty suprised that airlines were rolling this out. Airlines generally have an interest of keeping you ignorant of what is going on in the world outside the plane at that moment. Finding out about deaths, politics, the economy, etc. at 35,000 ft. doesn’t always end with quiet dignity.

    • dmuth says:

      @Dooley: Porn on your iPod. :-)

    • B says:

      @Dooley: Refreshing Consumerist 200 times an hour, duh. What better way to post a rant about the airline industry then while flying on an airplane.

    • HogwartsAlum says:

      @Dooley:

      Read a book!

      Or sneak the porn magazine in your carryon!

  2. humphrmi says:

    To whom is downloading porn such an important aspect of their life that they can’t take a break from it for a couple of hours?

    • nicless says:

      @humphrmi: I think you’re looking at it wrong. It’s not SO important… it’s just, you’re bored, you have your laptop and no common courtesy, and BAM! Porn on a plane.

    • mitchelwb says:

      @humphrmi:

      Are you sure you really want to know the answer to that question?

    • Rhayader says:

      @humphrmi: To the same people who buy Hustler in the airport news stands.

      Speaking of which, is there any rule against viewing porn in print form or viewing porn that has already been downloaded to a laptop?

    • Canino says:

      @humphrmi: I worked for a while implementing a porn filter for internal use at a telecom. You might be surprised at the volume that was coming across the network. Some people literally spent 6 hours of their 8 hour work day actively surfing porn of all kinds even after they had been alerted by HR that internet use monitoring had started.

      That was a fun, fun job.

  3. Klaus_Kinsky says:

    “GoGo Inflight Internet Service” without smut? Oh the irony.

  4. quail says:

    Did I miss something? Were people watching online porn during flights or something? Airlines truly have become the Greyhound Buses of the skies.

    The sad thing about the filtering is that you know there’s going to be some surgeon flying from NY to LA and they can’t review some medical site because the filters think it’s porn.

    • Traveshamockery says:

      @quail:

      The sad thing about the filtering is that you know there’s going to be some surgeon flying from NY to LA and they can’t review some medical site because the filters think it’s porn.

      I can’t imagine why that would matter.

      Flight Attendant: OMG THIS GUY IS CHOKING! DOCTOR! DOCTOR!
      Surgeon: I’m a doctor.
      Flight Attendant: SAVE HIM!
      Surgeon: Okay. Let me quickly look up the correct procedure on WebMd.com
      FIREWALL: Request Denied. This site has pictures of penises and vaginas.
      Surgeon: NOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!

      • domesticdork says:

        @InfiniTrent: Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!

        Really I don’t think this is a big deal either. It’s an added service the airline is providing. It’s not what you’re paying for. You’re paying for transportation. If some sites you want to look at get blocked by an overzealous filter tough luck. Access them later. KWIM?

    • jag164 says:

      @quail: Seriously, if your relying on an airline’s ‘free’ WiFi to get your work/research done before you get to your destination…well maybe you really aren’t qualified for your own job.

      • silver-bolt says:

        @jag164: A surgeon might be a bit rusty on proper first aid, given that all they do all day is cut people up, not preform the hiemlich.

        • emington says:

          @silver-bolt:

          A surgeon has to go through many, many years of medical school and must know proper first aid. I really hope you were being sarcastic in this. -_-

          Surgeons are qualified doctors.

    • SinisterMatt says:

      @quail:

      Perhaps a way around this would be to allow the flight attendants and/or the pilots to have a override button for that specific site. Of course, it would have to be on a case by case basis after review on the person’s computer.

      To avoid situation where you have a flight crew member who might view something like a medical site as porn, perhaps make it a decision by committee– three crew members or something have to approve it. Of course, that’s provided that there are more than three crew people on a flight.

      Cheers!

      • christoj879 says:

        @SinisterMatt: There’s no way they could to this, the flight attendants are too busy having people with cameras arrested and stopping Indians from using the john.

  5. Alexei says:

    Great, now I won’t be able to read Salon or Boingboing or thousands of other legitimate sites that are blocked by this sort of filter. “Porn” filters make wifi spots virtually useless– I often can’t even check my email or read a newspaper. I assume the airline would charge for use of the service, so a lot of travelers may be demanding refunds when they find out they can’t reach the sites they need.

    I agree you shouldn’t watch porn on an airplane, but commonly used filters block way too much.

  6. closed_account says:

    I still don’t see how this will help. If you want to watch porn on the flight, just make sure it is stored on your hard drive? No?

  7. dmolavi says:

    you mean there’s other stuff on the net besides porn? who knew…

  8. SgtBeavis says:

    As Alexei said, I don’t like these filters because they block several legitimate sites.

    But then it is pretty easy to circumvent so F’ them.

  9. GrandizerGo says:

    Ehhh, do what many people do that have porn sites blocked…
    DL to their own site in a directory only they can reach, then surf that locale.
    No filters on it…

  10. Rhayader says:

    Can users connect to proxy servers over these connections? If so, most any filter can be bypassed.

  11. AMetamorphosis says:

    Although I don’t want to see others porn on a flight I really don’t want to fly on an airline that makes moral choices for me.

    Does anyone think about anyone but themselves anymore?

    Jeese, if you need to “spank it” on a flight go to the bathroom and watch something you downloaded on your hard drive.

    • Traveshamockery says:

      @AMetamorphosis:

      Although I don’t want to see others porn on a flight I really don’t want to fly on an airline that makes moral choices for me.

      How do you determine what is and isn’t a moral choice? People scream “MORALITY POLICE” when porn is restricted on a semi-public airplane flight where minors could be present, but barely a peep was made when all the airlines banned smoking.

      I think some people just enjoy protecting porn.

      • Orv says:

        @InfiniTrent: Banning smoking doesn’t inadvertently block people from inhaling other things. Blocking porn almost always results in blocking “innocent” sites as well.

  12. badhatharry says:

    Yay! Something thatnever was a problem, and would never be a problem, was averted! Next issue, installing anti-Mothra missiles on the plane.

  13. AldisCabango says:

    Without Porn, I guess I will have to join the Mile High Club the old fashioned way

  14. AzaleaMachaon says:

    And their excuse for blocking VOIP is what?

    • Orv says:

      @AzaleaMachaon: The same reason so many people protested when they talked about setting up micro-cell sites for cell phones. People have an aversion to hearing other people’s telephone conversations. I’ve never understood why this bothers them so much more than conversations with people in the next seat, or screaming children, but apparently it does.

      • Burgandy says:

        @Orv: Obviously you haven’t witnessed the phenomenon known as “cell yell”.

      • teknowaffle says:

        @Orv:people, and especially people in an enclosed space talk a whole heck of a lot louder when on a cell phone than they do when talking to someone next to them, probably because they aren’t registering the necessary volume.

        Besides, a screaming baby is a part of life, and I can deal with. Tiffany blabbing loudly about how trevor gave her genital warts on the other hand…

  15. GuinevereRucker says:

    The airline isn’t making a moral choice for you. It’s saying that watching porn in public is not appropriate. And I completely agree, with the added caveat that it’s not good anywhere.

    Those of you whining about airlines encroaching upon your freedom, try going into any store shirtless or shoeless and see what happens. It’s called public decency and basic respect for human dignity.

    • silver-bolt says:

      @GuinevereRucker: So saying something is not appropriate, is not a moral choice? Right….

      Also, no shirt/no shoes in a store is a health issue, not a public decency issue. It is not illegal to go barefoot or shirtless in public.

      • floraposte says:

        @silver-bolt: It’s not a health issue, though; people just like to phrase it as such because we don’t like to talk about etiquette any more. There’s nothing that you’d catch from man-nipples that you wouldn’t catch from man-arms. It’s just a cultural thing.

    • FireflyPunk says:

      @GuinevereRucker:
      You don’t have to justify your answer you know.

      You were correct at ‘porn in public is not appropriate’.

      Seriously, just keep it in your pants for the four hour flight. Then download all the porn you want when you get home.

      What’s the big deal with this again?

    • Corporate_guy says:

      @GuinevereRucker: It’s not that people want to watch porn, it’s what are they going to classify as porn? And are they going to block things that could contain porn such as forums or other social sites that cannot be guaranteed to be porn free.

    • jamar0303 says:

      @GuinevereRucker: “Those of you whining about airlines encroaching upon your freedom, try going into any store shirtless or shoeless and see what happens.”

      Not that I ever do it, but where I live it’s not exactly uncommon…

  16. strife1012 says:

    Whats the whole point of this anyways. I can bring a Laptop in with the DVD “Debbie Does Dallas”, does the Porn filter stop that? Of course not.

    …pointless

  17. thaJack says:

    What I don’t understand is how your wireless devices, which interfered with the plane’s navigation system only two months ago, are now totally safe to use on the plane.

    Did someone sneak into my house in the night and replace my laptop’s wifi card with an “airplane safe” model or something?

    • LatinoGeek says:

      @thaJack:

      Catch up. The Qantas Airbus incident that was blamed on a passenger’s computer turned out to be a faulty on-board computer.

      See: [www.abc.net.au]

      I call B.S. because If WiFi could interfere with an aircraft’s systems so easily, then why aren’t more airplanes falling out of the sky?

    • proskills says:

      @thaJack: They have been totally safe to planes for at least several years. All of the commercial planes out there have serious anti-interference wiring that would never be affected by a cell phone or wifi signal. The real reason is so people don’t talk on cell phones in the air. And for that, I’m greatful.

      • Corporate_guy says:

        @proskills: They have never been a danger to planes. The original reason cell phones were banned is because they did not think cell towers could handle the fast switching needed while moving so fast.

        • Orv says:

          @Corporate_guy: You’re correct. In fact, it’s just as illegal to use a cell phone in your own small plane, where interference is not an issue. (Not because it couldn’t happen, but because you could just turn the phone off if you noticed a problem!)

          As it turns out, for most of a commercial flight you’re out of cell range anyway due to altitude. When you’re low enough to be in range, Doppler shifting tends to push your signal too far off frequency.

  18. Zlund says:

    Why is wifi available on a plane to begin with? People need to shut up and read a book or quietly give their boyfriend a handjob under the AA blanket.

  19. CumaeanSibyl says:

    I can’t imagine that people are downloading porn in transit — wouldn’t the connection on a plane be too slow/dodgy for that to work well?

  20. litbruin says:

    ^
    |
    |
    |
    Exactly. Next time I fly American I am so playing some loud ass porn off my HD through my headphones so the attendants will know exactly what I am watching.

  21. revmatty says:

    This isn’t a moral choice the airlines are making, it’s a legal liability choice. If you were sitting in a public park watching porn on your laptop (and likely even if you were doing it in your car where no one could see what you were watching) you would be at best cited for public indecency, more likely arrested. It’s illegal.

    I have no problem with people watching all the porn they want in private, but once it’s in public you are infringing on the rights of others to not watch it.

    • silver-bolt says:

      @revmatty: Rights of others to not watch it? Wouldn’t they be able to excersize that right by… you know, not looking? If someone’s not holding a gun to your head, noone’s infringing on your “”right to not watch porn””

      • Kimaroo - 100% Pure Natural Kitteh says:

        @silver-bolt: Children fly on planes and can look through the cracks between the seats to see what tthe person in front of them is watching, and if I were a parent I wouldn’t like to have my child blindfolded the whole flight.. would you? You can tell them not to look but you could imagine how well that would work out.

    • JollyJumjuck says:

      @revmatty: If porn is getting banned due to either others’ right not to watch it, or others’ right to not subject their curious children to it, then do we just draw the line there? What if someone wanted to watch a violent movie which was rated “M” (or even “T”)? Should we ban all violent movies because some people object to them? How about all movies rated for teens and above so that someone’s curious child does not see something which mom/dad do not want them to see?

      • Xerloq says:

        @JollyJumjuck: Ever heard of Airline Cuts of Movies? They already edit films for content.

      • revmatty says:

        @JollyJumjuck: Your logic fails entirely. There are already dozens of laws that restrict what can be shown in public places. An airplane is a public space, just like a movie theater or a bookstore or a mall are. If you don’t like the laws, work to have them changed, don’t bitch and moan about companies that comply with them.

  22. silver-bolt says:

    Let me guess, now flight waitresses can have you charged with computer terrorism along with interference of a flight crew at the drop of a hat….

  23. bdsakx says:

    I can’t believe that anyone would make a conscious decision watching pornography on an airplane, and think it’s somehow okay to decide to want to do that irregardless of the people around. It doesn’t matter if its on a laptop, or an iPod, whatever… I agree with the airline’s decision. I think public decency, especially in an enclosed area like a rocketing aluminum tube, should hold some precedence.

  24. WisconsinDadof2 says:

    The point missed here is that as a user of their service, you agree to be bound by whatever (reasonable) terms of service they set. If it includes pr0n filters, that’s the end of the discussion. If you feel like they are the morality police because you are ‘entitled’ to watch porn wherever you like, you are off base – the point of that policy is to make the experience less likely to cause problems for other passengers. The same as refusing alcohol service, for example.

    Frankly, if a person is so focused on their need to watch this type of material when sitting inches away from total strangers, I’m pretty sure they have their own cache of material at their disposal already downloaded.

  25. cubsd says:

    I can’t believe that some people are arguing for porn on an airplane. I’m as liberal as the anyone, but I just can’t justify watching porn in public.

  26. SaritJalooner says:

    1. There is no way you can block ALL the “porn” sites out there
    2. Some of the non-porn sites will end up being considered “porn” which limits the sites you can visit
    3. If someone really wanted to watch porn, they could bring a DVD which is better in so many ways and brings up another question.

    If passesngers were watching porn on their laptops (via DVD), will or can the flight attendants do anything?

  27. zjgz says:

    Sigh, why do people feel the need to look at porn on a plane?

  28. Justifan says:

    hm, but porn filters are imperfect and tend to filter out legitimate material.
    plus, pervs in public that do it in a way that gets them caught is a good thing.

  29. ajlei says:

    I don’t understand why people have a problem with it. I don’t know if this wifi is free or pay-to-use but either way, if it’s not your own network that you are providing, don’t expect to be able to download anything and everything you want.

    If porn on flights were allowed, then people would be lobbying to not have to use headphones or something else ridiculous like that. I’m not a prude but porn on something as intimate and confined as a plane is disgusting.

  30. thoseturtles says:

    just use a proxy, duh

  31. headhot says:

    its called ssh port forwarding.. give me a ssh port, and I can see porn anywhere.

  32. jchabotte says:

    will i at least be able to oovoo my daddy in his big meeting?

    MAKE THE MONEY, DADDY!

    -Little girl

  33. czarandy says:

    I agree that it makes no sense to block downloading porn, since you can easily have it on your hard drive. And filters do block many useful sites, which will diminish the value of the service.