US Airline Calls Cops On Viber Founder For Using His Own VoIP App Via In-Flight Wi-Fi

Talmon Marco, founder of the VoIP app Viber (the sixth most popular all-time free iPhone app), was met at La Guardia airport this evening by a waiting posse of port authority cops. What did he do? Well, it's not quite as outrageous as Alec Baldwin getting in trouble for playing Words With Friends, but it's still a bit ridiculous.

Apparently, Marco had been using the GoGo in-flight Wi-Fi on a Delta flight to make call through his VoIP (Voice-over-Internet-Protocol) and free texting app Viber. A flight attend came over to ask that he end the call, claiming an FAA rule against VoIP use will in the air, but Marco knew full well that no such rule exists and told her as much.

The rule , in point of fact, is a preference of the airline, not the agency:

While passengers are welcome to access the web, U.S. airlines offering Wi-Fi service block the use of inflight calling using Skype or similar applications. This is not an FAA restriction; they are simply responding to the overwhelming majority of their customers, who prefer silent communications to the public nature of Voice-over-Internet-Protocol (VoIP) calls.

Another flight attendent was called in, who claimed it was a rule not of the FAA but of the GoGo terms of service, and after he protested once more, he said Marco was being difficult and handed him an FAA brochure, and when Marco took a picture of it, the flight attendent said he was going to have the cops waiting for Marco at the gate.

Jeez Louise! Considering that the VoIP rule — be it at the airline's discretion or the agency's — is in place not for flight safety but cabin quiet, this all seems a bit OTT.

In the end, the cops ultimately decided it wasn't such a big deal, and Marco went merrily on his way. [TheNextWeb]


Comments

    I'm not sure what planes you have flown in but none of the planes I've ever been on have been quiet.

      I'm not sure what buses you've caught but you've obviously never been stuck on a 1 1/2 hour bus trip where the person behind you decides the whole bus deserves to hear a one-sided conversation which is about as interesting as most fb status updates. Phones on 15 hour trips? Stick to email for a few hours for the sake of humanity ..

        what's the difference if someone is talking to another person on the phone or sharing the same space? the conversation is not for your amusement. deal with it.

        Oh no, is the person who selfishly wants to talk bothering the person who selfishly wants silence?

          Nah, its just blatantly rude. Nobody wants to hear your conversation, just the same as no one wants to hear someone elses music playing through the headphones. Its common courtesy.

          My bet is the dude on the plane was probably being a smart ass about it.

          Do you expect the man in the $4,000 suit to hold the door for the man who doesn't make that in a month COME ON! -GOB

    Haha April so true...

    People being dicks and escalating their dickishness. For the stewards, that's actually part of their job to enforce their airlines silly rules. So When asked to quit, Macro was a dick about it. And so the steward gets dickish about it and so on... It'd be better if they just had the ability to cut off his internet access- if it's a TOS he agrees to for the temporary use that he's decided to violate, then cut it off, simple as that.

    Ummmm. Why didn't the guys in the airlines I.T. department just block voip calls?

      If they really wanted to be anal about it... grab the MAC address of his phone by seeing where the traffic was coming from.. block the MAC from accessing the network for the rest of the trip :P easy fixed.

    When you're on a plane, the cabin crew enforce the rules, be they of the airline, FAA or whatever statutory body they operate under the jurisdiction of. I believe that is against the law to disobey flight crew, so therefore they would be within their rights to call in the police upon landing.

    Besides that, it sounds like he was being an arrogant dick, so deserved to be put in his place.

    Another point of reference to the original reason electronics were banned.. the airlines were making too much money from in-flight phones. If you can suddenly make calls for free, or at a greatly reduced cost, where does that revenue go? Out the window.

    I'm sick to the death of you moronic, ignorant people who go on about "rules this, rules that".. what-the-beep-ever people.. the important thing here is the hypocrisy in the industry.. the lying.. the cheating.. the removal of your basic human rights. If you are too ignorant to see that then I hope you never reproduce.

      I'm pretty sure that talking on your mobile phone using VOIP after being asked not to by airline staff, while flying in a big aluminium tube with wings, fails the test for inclusion as a 'basic human right'.

    @lordbluray - Because then airline staff would never get to wield their over stated sense of power in the skies. Or maybe, no one ever though of that...

    On the other hand, if someone in a position of authority asks you to do something reasonable. Comply

    Wow, so 'Frequent Flyer X's real name is Marco, huh

      Zactly what I was thinking.
      God, there's some self centered, arrogant dicks in this world.

        and a lot of them are on planes. Actually... that makes perfect sense.

    W$%KER! How about you have some respect for other people on the plain, it's a shame a rule is even needed from people to have respect for their fellow travellers.

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