Airlines decide to block naughty websites from in-flight internet

By Mark O’Neill
Contributing Writer, [GAS]

It seems the Morality Police are back in town.  Airlines have seemingly taken the decision to filter out smutty websites from in-flight internet access after pressure from groups such as Girls Against Porn.    So no longer will you be able to get through that long flight watching King Dong or American Booty.

The airlines will be installing filters to make sure that no-one can access any bad URL’s.   This decision is also welcomed by the flight attendants who didn’t want to have to tell the over-excited passengers to turn off their bad websites because of kids nearby.   This I can understand.

But let’s flip the coin for a moment.  First, what’s to stop passengers from having objectionable stuff on their laptop hard drives?   No filters there and you can’t order passengers to delete anything from their computers.

Second, define “objectionable”.  One person’s “objectionable” is another person’s “OK”.   Who gets to define what’s OK and what’s not?   OK, porn is definately not allowed.  That’s obviously objectionable.   But doesn’t that then open the door for activist groups to campaign for other types of websites to be blocked next?  The word “objectionable” is such a broad umberella term that covers so much.   Can’t you just see the lawsuits now by “outraged passengers” who were “forced” to look at “objectionable websites” while they were on their flight?   Now they are “mentally scarred for life” and only $10 million in damages, free air travel for life, and the blocking of said websites will heal their mental anguish.   You might think I am mocking but just you wait and see.

Are the passengers and the flight attendants going to have a screaming match in the plane because the flight attendant is on a power trip and tells the passenger to switch off a website he or she deems to be “unsuitable” and the passenger decides there’s nothing wrong with it?

I think it would be best all round if we just didn’t have internet access at all on planes.   Life would be simpler that way.   What do you think?

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18 Responses to Airlines decide to block naughty websites from in-flight internet

  1. Okay, I'm no prude – far from it. And I generally don't like people telling me what I can or can't look at. But I think this issue is pretty cut and dried. There are people all around you (including children) on a plane and I think it is entirely reasonable for an airline to prohibit you from indulging your porn habit – whether it's on the internet connection they are offering you as a convenience or in a magazine you brought on board. You can forestall your autoerotic escapades. That's what the taxi ride from the airport is for, after all.

  2. Okay, I’m no prude – far from it. And I generally don’t like people telling me what I can or can’t look at. But I think this issue is pretty cut and dried. There are people all around you (including children) on a plane and I think it is entirely reasonable for an airline to prohibit you from indulging your porn habit – whether it’s on the internet connection they are offering you as a convenience or in a magazine you brought on board. You can forestall your autoerotic escapades. That’s what the taxi ride from the airport is for, after all.

  3. I'm no prude either, but as a women who travels alone a lot I would have to say I'd feel really uncomfortable knowing that the person next to me is looking at erotic material and getting aroused.

    I really don't care what you do in your own private space, but really in a plane you just don't have private space, unless you take your laptop to the on board bathroom (which I'd be fine with).

  4. I’m no prude either, but as a women who travels alone a lot I would have to say I’d feel really uncomfortable knowing that the person next to me is looking at erotic material and getting aroused.

    I really don’t care what you do in your own private space, but really in a plane you just don’t have private space, unless you take your laptop to the on board bathroom (which I’d be fine with).

  5. There is a much safer and easier approach to this which should keep the majority of people happy and could even be quite profitable for the airlines. Instead of providing internet access with filtering software to prevent objectionable sites, why not provide specific site access. So only allow certain well-known websites that cater towards the greatest needs of the passengers, for instance: all major email clients, major entertainment sites (excluding adult-only sites of course), major news sites, etc.

    The airlines could setup surveys to see which sites passengers would like added to the list, it really wouldn't be that difficult to do and of course they have control over the available site so there wouldn't be any in-flight arguments over what is deemed “objectionable”.

    • I completely disagree. What if you visit a harmless but unpopular website? Site-specific access is way too restrictive.

      Instead of blocking certain sites, which can be arbitrary sometimes (I should know, I live in China), the airlines should simply implement policies to prohibit passengers from viewing pornographic content in the plane. This would mean forcing the passengers to behave, not blocking content arbitrarily.

  6. There is a much safer and easier approach to this which should keep the majority of people happy and could even be quite profitable for the airlines. Instead of providing internet access with filtering software to prevent objectionable sites, why not provide specific site access. So only allow certain well-known websites that cater towards the greatest needs of the passengers, for instance: all major email clients, major entertainment sites (excluding adult-only sites of course), major news sites, etc.
    The airlines could setup surveys to see which sites passengers would like added to the list, it really wouldn’t be that difficult to do and of course they have control over the available site so there wouldn’t be any in-flight arguments over what is deemed “objectionable”.

    • I completely disagree. What if you visit a harmless but unpopular website? Site-specific access is way too restrictive.

      Instead of blocking certain sites, which can be arbitrary sometimes (I should know, I live in China), the airlines should simply implement policies to prohibit passengers from viewing pornographic content in the plane. This would mean forcing the passengers to behave, not blocking content arbitrarily.

  7. Why not have privacy screen filters so people outside of the direct line of site can't see what others are browsing. The airlines can rent to those who want them and require people use them if a flight attendant or passenger has an issue with any visual content (web or hard drive accessed).

  8. Why not have privacy screen filters so people outside of the direct line of site can’t see what others are browsing. The airlines can rent to those who want them and require people use them if a flight attendant or passenger has an issue with any visual content (web or hard drive accessed).

  9. Good call, mwilsonemt

    You beat me to it.

    And if the nosy little 9yr-old jerk in the seat behind you won't stop leaning over your seat to see what you're doing, then tell the flight attendant to put the little rugrat in the baggage compartment with the rest of the untamed animals.

  10. Good call, mwilsonemt
    You beat me to it.

    And if the nosy little 9yr-old jerk in the seat behind you won’t stop leaning over your seat to see what you’re doing, then tell the flight attendant to put the little rugrat in the baggage compartment with the rest of the untamed animals.

  11. watch a movie, listen to some good music, read a book sleep, talk with your spouse, play a game – who NEEDS the internet on a plane???

  12. watch a movie, listen to some good music, read a book sleep, talk with your spouse, play a game – who NEEDS the internet on a plane???

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