Plane-Tracking Phone App Raises Security Worries

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Even the early critics of ADS-B, who warned that broadcasting the position, type and altitude of individual aircraft might help terrorists target specific aircraft, probably didn’t envision pointing a cellphone at an aircraft in flight and getting all those details. But a British software company has released a $3 iPhone/iPad and Android application called Plane Finder AR that matches the real-time ADS-B signals of passing aircraft with a database built by ADS-B-equipped planespotters and displays the ID of the plane, altitude and destination. The “AR” stands for “Augmented Reality” and it’s the feature that has furrowed the brows of British lawmakers. Pointing the phone’s camera at the aircraft will superimpose the aircraft’s bearing and range on the screen.

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