Monday, December 24, 2007

Online at 30,000 Feet

On this blog, we have explored the codes of Internet conduct in various environments--in a free country, in an oppressive state, or in a family plagued by abuse. How does one conduct one's self on the Internet while in the air?

Some airlines such as Qantas and AirFrance are exploring various online services on their flights. See AP article "Airborne Internet might bring turbulence."

These services could potentially bring etiquette, openness, and freedom of speech issues into these close quarters. But like the Internet in general, the result will very much depend on whether customers can self regulate.

AirFrance is going to try out new services before they start to regulate:

AirFrance, which plans to start allowing cellular calls through OnAir within months, said it would see how people use such services before crafting rules.

"Are you going to reach your wife to tell her what you did the entire day or just tell her, 'Can you pick me up at the airport?'" Air France spokeswoman Marina Tymen said, adding that passengers might tell the airline that data services fulfill all their needs.

1 comment:

Edward S. VanBogaert said...

With the addition of telecommunications options in the skies, there becomes a question of jurisdiction--if regulations are imposed in one way or another (and I'm guessing there will be), what guidelines are followed?

Now, there may be legal precedent for jurisdictional questions in the air, but it would raise the question: whose laws have the power to modify/regulate how passengers use these devices in the skies.

Let's say a commercial flight leaves Sydney, Australia en route to Los Angeles, CA, USA on the carrier Quantas. If a passenger on that flight makes a threat via e-mail, who has jurisdiction? The country of origin (Australia)? The recipient of the threat? The country who owns the airspace they're flying over? International law?

Even if there are clear precedents, I see there being some wrangling while fleshing out how they will apply.