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?