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[liberationtech] Airline Shutdown Because of Loss of Internet Service?

michael gurstein gurstein at
Thu Jun 6 14:42:24 PDT 2013

Is this kind of event an argument against "net neutrality"?




From: liberationtech-bounces at
[mailto:liberationtech-bounces at] On Behalf Of Andrés
Leopoldo Pacheco Sanfuentes
Sent: Thursday, June 06, 2013 6:05 AM
To: liberationtech
Subject: Re: [liberationtech] Airline Shutdown Because of Loss of Internet


One thing that comes to mind right away is that more & more companies are
replacing private-circuit based WANs by Internet-VPNs, & thus, when the
Internet is down, their "network" is down; even more, if they depend on any
SaaS (from for CRM to Maximo for Asset management), or, in
general, XaaS (AWS, Rackspace, etc.), for critical business systems, a
fast-growing trend, the Internet is their "backbone."

On Jun 6, 2013 2:45 AM, "michael gurstein" <gurstein at> wrote:

This is probably not a Liberation issue directly but I'm not sure where else
to address it...

Sunday I was flying (Porter Airlines--small short hop Canadian carrier) from
NYC to Ottawa, ON with a plane change in Toronto. When we arrived in Toronto
we were informed that "because the Internet was down" planes were not able
to land or depart.  The company's service was completely shut down for
roughly 4 hours until the "Internet service" was restored (presumably by
their ISP).

I understand that other airlines have had similar experiences recently.

My question... how exactly is Internet service so intertwined with flight
operations that service can function only if the Internet is operational?
(And I guess the Liberation angle... if this is now pervasive for all
airlines what is the hackable element of all this and where are the points
of vulnerability etc.etc.?


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