The Money Shield

by Volker Weber

Have you noticed how former hazards are no longer that dangerous anymore? Some examples, s'il vous plait?

Notebooks with CD-ROMs or DVD-ROMs where banned by most airlines because they might interfere with the avionics of the airplane. This in no longer the case as we now have first class passengers using in-seat DVD systems.

You were not allowed to use any RF devices inside the plane. Now you can access the internet via a run-of-the-mill WLAN on Lufthansa flights, after paying your fee of course.

The use of cell-phones was strictly prohibited. It actually still is. Until the airlines have installed cells into their planes that attract business from the mobile phones. Dang, there goes the quiet time.

Similar scare tactics are used with public access points. If they are free, there may be illegal activities. That is not the case if you sell tickets to access the WLAN. Even if the user pays cash for anonymous tickets. How does that work?

I call this The Money Shield. As soon as somebody pays to use a service, it is no longer dangerous.

Do you have similar examples?


It's just the common way of the industry to increase profits by hindering certain technologies from becoming ubiquitous.

If you happen to be in Offenthal, you can let your kids play on the playground "Bergstrasse" and be on-line at the same time. Just my EUR 0.02 contribution to guerilla networking in a small town ;-)

We'll see what happens when wireless mesh networks gain more popularity.


Karsten W. Rohrbach, 2004-09-27

Could not resist: One-nite-stands in times of HIV ;-)

Hajo, 2004-09-27

Interesting observation and one I was thinking about yesterday (after Carl asked if my upcoming flights to/thru Germany would have the new wifi service).
On the cell phone one, American Airlines -- and perhaps the other domestic US carriers -- now allow use of cell phones from touchdown to gate, which at some airports can be 5-10 minutes or so and is nice for calling ahead on logistics (taxi/limo etc.). This was previously prohibited, but people were doing it anyway (sometimes receiving grief from flight attendants and sometimes not). Not sure if this is a "money shield" or not.

Capt. Hajo's comment might have been flip, but there are many examples in the world of vice. One here in Illinois USA is that gambling casinos were illegal, but a fixed number are now legal as long as they are not built on land! Other states ban casinos unless they are owned by Native American tribes!

Ed Brill, 2004-09-27

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I explain difficult concepts in simple ways. For free, and for money. Clue procurement and bullshit detection.


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