Skype, Porn May Not Fly In Friendly Skies

Airplane_takeoff.jpgThe good news is, all you guys who have been dreading the use of Internet calling on airplanes may be in luck, because airlines and airborne service providers alike are considering a ban on Skype. The bad news is, they're also considering a ban on that age-old lonely traveler's companion, porn, says the AP. Here's a list of soon-to-be-Wi-Fi'd airlines and what services they plan to ban:

Australia's Qantas Airways is testing high-speed net access by Panasonic Avionics Corp., which plans to block sites from "an objectionable list," including sites that feature porn or violence. (Note to grammar nuts: we're pretty sure they mean the sites are objectionable, not the list itself.) They may block Skype calls on the PC, but not on Wi-Fi handsets, which demand less bandwidth. Panasonic says that airlines could block incoming calls—and annoying ringtones.

American Airlines and Alaskan Airlines are saying ix-nay to Ype-Skay, but say there's no plan to lock out the nudie sites. The head of Aircell, which is wiring up these planes, cited a likelihood that "decency and good sense and normal behaviour" will guide people's surfing decisions.

Virgin America is considering a Skype ban. Virgin's director of in-flight entertainment cited concerns about passengers "yapping away or playing on a boom box." (Boom box? WTF?) Virgin will give parents the opportunity to control their kids net access, and may limit large downloads.

Air France is going to wait and see about its OnAir system for cell phone calls, setting up rules only after complaints start coming in. How laissez-faire!

The AP story also raises an important legal question: If you hack a website or engage in some RIAA-hatin' file swapping on a flight between New York and Nova Scotia, which country's laws apply? [AP; source image]

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