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I require some context to fully understand what's going on here.

I imagine "blocked" means that the flights in question are not displayed? Despite a user presumably uploading the metadata for the flight in question as part of their feed?

And thus, can't someone still see these flights with their directly-connected SDR device?

And thus, can't someone just start a new FR24 service that doesn't censor these data?

> There is a discussion on FAA meetings about encrypting the ADS-B signal. By angering the authorities, we will only speed up this process.

Holy hell, for real? At this point, there are vanishingly few laws with which I agree even in principle, but "if you are going to fly a 375-ton hunk of metal through the air, you need to clearly broadcast flight details in plain text" is a pretty damn reasonable one.

What possible justification can there be for targeting services like FR24?




Lol. Take a step back and remember that some planes are privately owned.

And now imagine a website called numberplateradar24.com that aggregates the feeds from 1000s of number plates scanners around the country. Which means you can track an individuals car.... does this sound like an invasion of privacy. Where's the dividing line? I think it's totally reasonable that private planes are allowed to encrypt their identities. As long as their position is still trackable it doesn't matter if the general public don't know everything.


If a bunch of hobbyists wanted to build a way to track cars using publicly available methods why shouldn't they have the right to do that? Could it be creepy? Yeah, but as long as they're not exposing information that's publicly available or targeting specific individuals, then it's not what I would consider to be morally wrong.*

*On the other hand, the government using public funds to do this, combining the data with private information, and trying to keep the fact that they do this secret is wrong in my book.


As an aside tracking cars is being done now for collections and repossession industry. Right now its done by scanning parking lots or places of high density and comparing to databases of records.


>> As an aside tracking cars is being done now for collections and repossession industry. Right now its done by scanning parking lots or places of high density and comparing to databases of records.

The DMV records are not supposed to be available to anyone but the police. The ability to abuse that for crime is huge.


> not supposed to be available to anyone but the police... to abuse that for crime is huge

So it sounds like an illogical configuration on its face then.


I think I misunderstood - so it's just the identity that is being blocked (and, pursuant to this discussion, may be encrypted)? Not the actual flight data?

...and no, I don't recognize a right to "privacy" that is so tentacular as to prohibit people from walking around with a camera, running some computer vision on it, and sharing the result with like-minded hobbyists doing the same thing.


> ...and no, I don't recognize a right to "privacy" that is so tentacular as to prohibit people from walking around with a camera, running some computer vision on it, and sharing the result with like-minded hobbyists doing the same thing.

Exactly. A lot of people seem to think they can have (and therefore expect) a world in which they can cover the eyes to make themselves invisible. Like little kids, they say "I have my hands on my eyes, you can't see me!". And when that fails for obvious reasons then, unlike kids, they want this magic to be enforced by law. "How dare you look at me? You're not allowed!".


It's about lowering the cost of surveillance - want to keep track of your competitors CEO or M&A team? Just set up an alert in flight radar...and it's like you have a full time team of private investigators


The hobbyists being the communication networks, tracing your phone location?

I guess this has been tried before: http://www.zeit.de/datenschutz/malte-spitz-data-retention


Well, that's the very definition of stalking


Stalking requires a target and an obsession or questionable intent. If we're stretching definitions that far, then I'll say that this is just thinking - recording inputs, correlating them and possibly acting upon them. Should we ban augmentation of thinking?


No, that's not the very definition of stalking.


Somebody should build that.

Why should governments and corps have all the fun? (Insert sousveillance/transparent society/David Brin rant here).

Are there any decent open source number plate recognition libraries yet?



Scale is the difference.


As long as all vehicles are visible, sure. Why should the government be trusted to monitor what needs monitoring and not abuse the information?


Why should random people on the internet be trusted not to abuse the information?


They can't be trusted. They're just not able to abuse it as much as a government. And the worst abuses would already be against laws against, for example, crimes of violence.


Position is nice, but you do want to know if that plane a couple of miles out heading in your direction is a Piper Cub doing 80mph or a 737 doing 400mph.


You're correct, these are cases where organisations have asked FlightRadar24 to not display any data about their aircraft. In some cases you can still see an aircraft on the site with all identifying details saying "BLOCKED", but as I understand it you can request for your aircraft to not display at all.

This doesn't prevent you from seeing those aircraft via your own ADS-B receivers like directly-connected SDR devices, nor does it apply to any of the other flight tracking applications or services like PlanePlotter, FlightAware or PlaneFinder to which an aircraft owner would need to apply separately.

I can't say I disagree with FR24's position on this, seeing as though if they didn't offer it there would be a lot more pressure on the FAA and others to introduce an encrypted form of the ADS-B standard and because when ADS-B was introduced nobody foresaw consolidated services like FR24 which could provide not only an extraordinary level of crowdsourced data but also historical data.

This is a problem for air forces, which are are required to use ADS-B in certain areas but for obvious reasons don't want other countries to be able to see exactly when, where and how their aircraft fly. It's also an issue for private companies, where the ability to track the movement of corporate jets might give competitors extremely good intel on what a company's plans are based on where its execs are flying to and when.

This has only been compounded by the introduction of multilateration[0] which allows for aircraft using only Mode-S and without ADS-B onboard or activated to be tracked with the same level of positional data.

[0]https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multilateration


"if you are going to fly a 375-ton hunk of metal through the air, you need to clearly broadcast flight details in plain text"

Why? I obviously get why you have to tell all the relevant authorities and so on and so forth, but why do you have to tell your nosy neighbor where you went on holiday last weekend.

Or did you mean that the rule should only apply to "hunks of metal" 375 tonnes and over (which is pretty damn huge, given that an A330 has a maximum takeoff weight of around 230 tonnes)?


They use these kinds of transponders for TCAS (traffic collision avoidance system), so yes, it should be plain text if you like planes not crashing in to each other...


Isn't position and velocity (and acceleration?) enough for TCAS? Why do you need full identity and flightplan for the aircrafts?


If I'm in a plane that is being controlled through a TCAS input, you can be damn sure I'd like anyone on the ground at all to know that I am in that plane.

The reason is: planes are a life-threatening situation. You cannot live in a plane. They are a temporary place in which you must park your body during periods of extremely high risk.

If two planes crash, because: IT HAPPENS, then not having to decrypt the flight manifest to determine who was on the plane, is a mighty fine use of public force, i.e. law-making.

I care not a fig for someones' privacy, if it means life-saving activities have one less layer of human cruft attached to the process.

If you're coming to find my body on the side of the mountain because I was unfortunate enough to hitch a ride with my rich millionaire and his drunk pilot, please know exactly who I am, and how to contact my immediate family, in case of my demise.


I guess we'll have to agree to disagree. I feel very strongly that if one wishes to get away for awhile and not tell the world where you are heading then you should very much be allowed to do that.


For that argument from privacy to work you need to provide reason for why flying is the only acceptable form of travel. Or why it is only acceptable to "get away" to locations to which flying is the only possible means of travel.

Realistically speaking, the only traveling you can do with perfect privacy is that which you do without involving others. If you use a travel service your desire for privacy becomes an imposition on the free speech of others.


Its exactly analogous to refusing to ring your fog bell on a boat while stuck in a fog bank, or refusing to use turn signals on a car.


It's not at all analogous. A turn signal tells the people around me that I'm just about to turn, not that I'm on a road trip from Chicago to Tucson. Nor is my entire turn signal history centrally logged and searchable.


There are two analogies:

- The broadcast of your location data is analogous to a turn signal.

- The FR24 community is analogous to a group capturing data about use of turn signals at various intersections and aggregating them.

Both are perfectly reasonable analogies.

And yes, it's completely possible for people using only publicly-visible information to put together your entire turn signal history and make it searchable.


I think the problem is that some of us aren't up to speed on the particulars. Is that what's being blocked (and proposed for encryption)? Just the "full identity and flightplan"?


Flight history of blocked aircraft is inaccessible as well. E.g. executives may not want to reveal insightful flights.

E.g. American Airlines AA1 recent flight history: http://www.flightradar24.com/data/flights/aa1/


Sure, but why should we be biasing the maintenance of a corporate advantage here?


Because the intention is to migrate air traffic control systems to the use of ADS-B data to replace or augment Secondary Surveillance Radar.


> you need to clearly broadcast flight details in plain text

And here I was, thinking that HN crowd is so pro-privacy.


Ah yes but gubiment is the evils oh but I can do anything I want.


Actually I think that this comes from unspoken assumptions that powerful and rich people, as well as powerful and rich corporations, are evil, while ordinary people and small companies are good. Which is complete and total bullshit, but can explain a lot of HN and Reddit's worldview.




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