GoGo Wireless Adds Surveillance Capabilities for Government

The important piece of this story is not that GoGo complies with the law, but that it goes above and beyond what is required by law. It has voluntarily decided to violate your privacy and turn your data over to the government.

Posted on April 14, 2014 at 9:19 AM • 17 Comments


wiredogApril 14, 2014 9:33 AM

Never used it. I have a 64 gb iPad and can get enough video content on it to get me through a transcontinental flight.

I bet the "free" airport wifi does this sort of sharing, too. If you are so vital to your organization that you have to be online while in transit, set up a VPN.

wumpusApril 14, 2014 9:45 AM

Just how many times do we have to be reminded that if we don't own and control a wire (and restrict physical access), we must assume that it is tapped? Tapped by the government, mined for marketing data, spammed for all its worth. Using VPN/crypto may not be a panacea, but it certainly is a start.

zApril 14, 2014 12:49 PM

So I get to be violated by the Wifi provider immediately after the TSA has had their turn? Great!

DBApril 14, 2014 4:15 PM

I have a t-shirt that says "suspected terrorist" on the front. I call it my airport security shirt. I have literally worn it through security, and nobody said a word to me about it yet, not even given me extra attention over it (nor did I call attention to it). But I think people get the point if they notice it: you are all suspected guilty until proven innocent. Welcome to America, with the largest prison populations.

I guess I should call it my airline wifi shirt too now huh. And my surfing the web at home shirt too. And my reading schneier.com shirt too. All online activity in America is part of an active criminal investigation, that's why they can loophole into spying on all of us all the time, right? No need for "minimization" even.

nycmanApril 14, 2014 6:50 PM

Sadly, this kind of news is now part of the background noise. It doesn't event attract much attention anymore. If enough people complain to GoGo, perhaps they may issue a statement. Better yet, more people should stop using them. I love it, pay a premium for a few hours of slow sporadic internet, and get violated at the same time.

The outrage is not the "you should've known better" part, but GoGo being extra helpful to the NSA, going above and beyond to violate their customers.

StaatssicherheitApril 14, 2014 11:56 PM

I recall an interview with Bjoern Rupp of Cryptophone GSMK a few years ago where their baseband 'firewall' that detects high activity of the baseband CPU when the application CPU is idle (meaning, shenanigans are going like bombardment of silent type-0 SMS) and then disables the baseband automatically said in airports around the world it usually shuts down.

Then there's National Geographic's "Inside Cocaine Wars" where they were openly running stingray towers 24/7 that covered the whole airport.

In Soviet USA, in-flight movie watches you

Peter A.April 15, 2014 4:15 AM

@Staatssicherheit: "In Soviet USA, in-flight movie watches you."


nycmanApril 15, 2014 10:31 AM

Also, we shouldn't be surprised if ALL cellphone and SMS conversations around so called "high value" targets, such as airports, railway stations, etc., are monitored in real time.

Mike AmlingApril 15, 2014 4:27 PM

"in airports around the world it usually shuts down."

I have noticed that my handheld GPS receiver can't get a signal in airports. Not only are the walls radio-opaque, which is not too surprising, but the windows too. I first wondered if it was a side effect of some kind of energy-efficient windows.

But now I hypothesize that it's deliberate, and that cell phones are the target. 'They' don't want any cell phones connecting to (lightly monitored) towers outside the airport, so they Faraday-cage the walls and windows, and provide cell service through (heavily monitored) access points inside the buildings.

What would be a good way to test this hypothesis?

AnonApril 15, 2014 4:28 PM

With all due respect, most folks are probably still connecting up to the Man-in-the-Middle WiFi units that forward to GoGo while eavesdropping for criminal pursuits. Worrying about GoGO and the NSA is like worrying about tadpoles instead of the sharks. I'm not condoning what GoGo or the NSA are doing. I just have more immediately pressing concerns regarding my online safety.

Go go VPN.

DBApril 15, 2014 5:55 PM

@ Anon, treating the surveillance state flippantly, or saying it doesn't really matter, IS IN FACT condoning it and supporting it with your words and actions here...

Paul NormanMay 6, 2014 2:34 AM

> I have noticed that my handheld GPS receiver can't get a signal in airports. Not only are the walls radio-opaque, which is not too surprising, but the windows too. I first wondered if it was a side effect of some kind of energy-efficient windows.

I'm fairly involved with collection of GPS data for OpenStreetMap. Frequently energy-efficient windows designed reduce the thermal load from the sun will block GPS signals. You want these kind of windows at an airport where there are often large glass walls, because it keeps it from being a greenhouse. On top of that, you don't get superb reception out the side of buildings with normal window.

Airports will have their own cell towers. This is normal for large buildings and is common in big malls.

All this being said, it doesn't imply that they aren't doing special monitoring on cell traffic at airports, just that the windows probably aren't there for that reason.

For what it's worth, I do get GPS reception from airports, but I mainly travel in colder climates so my experiences might not be the same. Also, I have a reasonable quality modern GPS receiver which will perform better than cheap or old receivers.

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