Continental Airlines has been offering free WiFi in their President’s Clubs for quite a while now (a service that I take advantage off whenever possible). Although, in truth, it’s not actually free Wifi, because access to the lounges is paid for (usually an annual fee to Continental or a partner airline).
But Massachusetts Port Authority (Massport) which operates Logan International Airport in Boston has a problem with the free WiFi. Massport has warned Continental that its antenna “presents an unacceptable potential risk” to Logan’s safety and security systems, including its keycard access system and state police communications.
This one stinks on multiple levels.
For starters, if a WiFi antenna could harm keycard access systems and police communication equipment then this would impact more than just Logan Airport. Just about every major office building in just about every major metropolis would be vulnerable too.
And if it were actually true, that somehow Logan was more vulnerable to risks posed by WiFi, well, I’d have thought that Massport would address those security vulnerabilities. After all, Continental aside, there’s a whole lot of WiFi traffic in the air coming from laptops, PDAs, and more. I’d hate to think that the act of turning on my laptop would suddenly render all airport keycard security useless.
But it gets better. Logan offers WiFi service itself, via a business partner, for a mere $7.95 a day. And magically the paid WiFi does not present those unacceptable security risks! I guess they must have done something special to the WiFi equipment and signal for the paid service to be so much safer than the free service.
And very generously, Massport has offered Continental an option of using Logan’s Wifi network at a “very reasonable rate structure”.
Yep, don’t compete, and pay us a reasonable fee, and then we’ll be so much more secure!

3 thoughts

  1. Bah, I think your spot on Ben. They don’t like people getting free WiFi when they charge for it. I hate it when people make lame excuses to cover for another equally lame reason they don’t like something.

  2. What a crock! That tactic sounds way too much like something Microsoft would do. When you can’t compete bully the competition into submission.

  3. profit might be one motive, but perhaps they prefer to monitor only one network. Yes, big brother might want all the traffic where their ears are.

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