December 08, 2016

"American and British spies have since 2005 been working on intercepting phone calls and data transfers made from aircraft, France's Le Monde newspaper reported on Wednesday, citing documents from former U.S. spy agency contractor Edward Snowden."

Reuters: According to the report, also carried by the investigative website The Intercept, Air France was targeted early on in the projects undertaken by the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) and its British counterpart, GCHQ, after the airline conducted a test of phone communication based on the second-generation GSM standard in 2007. by Andrew Callus, Paul Sandle, and Kevin Liffey

'That test was done before the ability to use phones aboard aircraft became widespread. GCHQ declined to comment and the NSA had no immediate comment, but Le Monde reported it as saying that its intelligence activities were lawful. Air France said in a statement that the report was "erroneous", and noted that it still does not allow voice communication aboard its planes.

'However, dozens of other airlines do already allow passengers to use their phones during flights. "What do the President of Pakistan, a cigar smuggler, an arms dealer, a counterterrorism target, and a combatting proliferation target have in common? They all used their everyday GSM phone during a flight," the reports cited one NSA document from 2010 as saying.

'In a separate internal document from a year earlier, the NSA reported that 100,000 people had already used their mobile phones in flight as of February 2009, a doubling in the space of two months.'

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