WiFi in planes: Security agencies give go-ahead

Flyers in India may soon be able to access their emails and data in the aircraft, with the security agencies having signalled their nod for in-flight WiFI services but with safeguards to prevent its misuse. The proposal to allow WiFi services on aircraft in Indian airspace has been pending for some time due to security implications. A home ministry official said a call will be taken soon on allowing passengers to connect their mobiles and computer device to WiFi hardware installed in the aircraft. However, this may be subject to the condition that WiFi signals do not interfere with communication between the aircraft crew and the Air Traffic Control (ATC), which may jeopardise flight safety.

Security agencies argue that a key risk arising out of on-board WiFi include potential terrorists hacking into the aircraft system and using them remotely as missiles. Also, there are concerns that hijackers on board could use internet to communicate with their handlers on the ground. Sources said Indian security agencies are competent to track in-flight calling and data traffic.