Shostack + Friends Blog Archive


Planespotters vs. the CIA

tail-n85vm.jpgEver-increasing requirements that every item be uniquely identifiable are combining with the power of the internet to invade everyone’s privacy. The Guardian (UK) has a story about how ‘planespotters’ are gathering data that allows the after-the-fact tracking of CIA torture planes. (“How planespotters turned into the scourge of the CIA.”)

Paul last saw the Gulfstream V about 18 months ago. He comes down to Glasgow airport’s planespotters’ club most days. He had not seen the plane before so he marked the serial number down in his book. At the time, he did not think there was anything unusual about the Gulfstream being ushered to a stand away from public view, one that could not be seen from the airport terminal or the club’s prime view.

The picture is an executive jet, owned by an owner of the Boston Red Sox, and used for moving people to be tortured. (“Red Sox Owner’s Jet Used for CIA Extraordinary Rendition.”) More on the story at Farber’s IP List. I’ve also covered the story in the past in “Choicepoint vs CIA.”

Just remember, when you give up privacy for a little security, it’s the CIA who suffers.

4 comments on "Planespotters vs. the CIA"

  • David Maynor says:

    Conspiracy Theory at it finest…

  • David Brodbeck says:

    For those who don’t know, the FAA’s aircraft registration database is searchable by N-number here:
    Leave the leading “N” off when you enter the number. Numbers that don’t start with “N” belong to other countries.

  • Anonymous Coward says:

    So what do you think that the CIA should do about the situation?

  • Chris Walsh says:

    Reminds me of the semi-old joke about the NSA and crypto — “If you’d like more information about the CIA’s clandestine torture activities, pick up the phone and tell your mother about it”.

Comments are closed.