back to article iPhone app tagged as terror tool

A Tory alarmist is squawking about the technology behind an iPhone app that he claims could enable an airline-hunting terrorist to more easily stalk his prey. "Anything that makes it easier for our enemies to find targets is madness," Tory MP Patrick Mercer told the Daily Mail. "The Government must look at outlawing the …


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  1. Winkypop Silver badge

    Politicians and Oxygen

    A dangerous mix

  2. Dan 55 Silver badge

    So now I'm next to the airport, which one is the EasyJet flight to Malaga?

    Don't know, I'll put the rocket launcher away and call it off. If only I had an iPhone.

  3. Sabine Miehlbradt

    so opticians are now to be outlawed?

    after all they make it easier for myopic terrorists to actually find their targets.

    Never mind street or railway guides, maps or even geography or political lessons at school. Let's bomb all schools from orbit - it's the only way.

    Any more ridiculous ideas? Like a basic intelligence test for MPs?

    1. Anonymous Coward

      @so opticians are now to be outlawed?

      Any more ridiculous ideas? Like a basic intelligence test for MPs?

      What is so ridiculous about that? I guess they would all fail and we would have no MP's.

  4. LaeMing

    Ya know.

    Emmitting infrared radiation makes you easier to target. Maybe this guy should have his ability to generate body heat revoked!

  5. Giles Jones Gold badge


    I'm sure the sort of people who want to blow up planes could also get some sort of radar device. The planes transmit their location anyway.

    1. Jess--

      The title is required, and must contain letters and/or digits.

      Or they could just visit

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        Now that is a serious amount of planes in the air all at once. Hats off to the air traffic controllers.

  6. JaitcH

    Poliicians are a trusted ...

    technical resource with knowledge as deep as the dust on my motorcycle.

    Blunkett is another example.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Re: Poliicians are a trusted ...

      This hasn't even fooled the arm waiving, panic stricken cretins that love nothing more than to whip up hysteria at the sight of a dodgy beard.

      Even though this can't even fool your average Daily Fail reader it's still no surprise that some politician has accepted it as gospel. (or at least thinks the rest of us are stupid enough to)

  7. Another Coward


    Another politician who wants 15 seconds of fame - and thinks alarmist scaremongering is the easy way to about it. A contemptable little man

  8. Throatwobbler Mangrove
    Thumb Down


    ...and he still can't think about what his words mean?

    "Anything that makes it easier for our enemies to find targets is madness," Tory MP Patrick Mercer told the Daily Mail. "The Government must look at outlawing the marketing of such equipment."

    'Anything'? Binoculars, road maps, compasses?

    The 'marketing' of such equipment? If it's so dangerous, shouldn't possession, distribution and sale also be outlawed as well?

    And so on...

    1. Anonymous Coward

      £20,000 a year?

      Most of our top politicians are Oxbridge-educated. Most of their careers end in failure - Thatcher, Blair, Brown etc. Therefore I declare Oxbridge to be the perfect training ground for future failure. And they want to charge £20,000/year??

      Maybe we should have a performance-related university fee system? You put aside £60,000 up to retirement age and so long as you don't start any wars, crash the economy or get knifed by your own cabinet, you pay that lump sum to your alma mater. SImples.

      But I digress ...

  9. BristolBachelor Gold badge


    "Anything that makes it easier for our enemies to find targets is madness,"

    I am awaiting his new proposed law that that everyone has their eyeballs removed, for the sake of us all. Fuckwit.

    Move along, nothing to see here.

  10. Graeme Hayes

    I Be Scared......

    I have Pinkfroot's Ship Finder on my iPhone, does this mean I have to hire a midget submarine laden with C4 to attack the merchant fleet.....??

  11. Anonymous Coward

    More likely that ...

    Some comedy terrorist will be found at the end of a runway with the Flight Arrivals website on their iPad. Or rather the burnt out remains of said terrorist after they tried to launch their RPG from the back of a van. You can't get the staff these days.

    Prompting P Mercer MP to call for an immediate ban on flight information websites and iPads ... so not all bad in the latter case :)

  12. Gordon Pryra

    Taxi Finder would be more useful

    Especially if you make the mistake of going out after 12pm in London...

    1. Toastan Buttar


      12:00 pm is mid-day.

  13. Is it me?

    We would all like to say what

    A total tit this guy is, sadly I doubt he reads The Register. Thankfully neither do Daily Mail and Daily Excess readers, otherwise they would probably panic about all the other transport locational information out there on the web.

    What was that saying, "A person who gives up an ounce of freedom for an ounce of security....."

    As you say this information is freely available for the benefit of passengers and their families so that they know where the planes are, and indeed plane spotters, such information is available about trains and buses as well, probably even some HGVs.

    It wouldn't be that difficult to work out what plane will be where in our skys, just based on the airlines timetables and the big sign on the tail, certainly, not that much time compared to the effort required to get an air to air missile into the UK, but then I doubt this guy thinks that much. Says a lot about the people who elected him.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Well it must be true.....

    I read it in the Daily Mail

  15. Anonymous Coward

    Seems there's a gap in the market for Stinger-mounted iPhone docks.

    Hold my calls, I'll be down in the lab...

  16. Stone Fox

    not a real title

    Mercer & the daily fail. A match made in hell.

  17. Push the red button Igor ...
    Black Helicopters

    Where can I get my eyes taken out?

    So, an MP wants to outlaw *equipment* that would help a terrorist observe and identify a potential target?

    On the basis that Plane Finder allows me to identify what aircraft I am looking at merely by looking in it's general direction, surely he will also want to outlaw the bio-app combination Eyes 1.0 / Brains 0.1 (the MP Edition)? Put the two together, and it is just possible that even the dimmest terrorist (yes, even the Underpants Bomber) could put one and one together!

    Or maybe it will just be sufficient for the government to have a back door into everything we see to make sure that we don't see anything that might lead to sudden and surprising revelations ...

  18. dave 81

    Being an ex-air traffic controller trainee

    I would love to comment, but IDIOTS like "adam 10" make it not worth my while.

  19. Stu Kennedy


    TBH this isnt nothing new! Just listen to the Radio waves will gie you more info

  20. DrXym Silver badge


    If I were a terrorist and I wanted to shoot down a plane, I think I would start by looking for where planes take off and land. I believe I could find such places using a terror tool such as Google Maps or an OS Map to find my nearest airport / airfield. Then using my unaugmented appless eyeballs I would wait until a plane was taking off or landing and shoot at it.

    I think to get a rise out of these lunatic pundits we should use this augmented reality in more imaginative ways. Imagine an app that lets you PRETEND to shoot an aircraft out of the sky with realistic physics, or run through a shopping centre pretending to gun down shoppers. They'd really flip their lids over that.

    1. BingBong

      Don't forget the road signs ...

      You can't miss them and they point you directly at where the flying person tubes cluster.

      They got rid of the road signs during WWII and we won that so it must be a good idea.

      What a Total Door Knob.


      Seriously, this is EXACTLY what the terrorists want to hear .. we should just ignore this Manic Pillock and keep calm and carry on as normal. I heard an excellent interview on the Today programme the other evening with an American guy who was commenting on the recent "Travel Warnings" for Europe (he was a tourism exec for NYC after 9/11) and basically he said not to worry about terrorism too much because it is so unlikely that you will get blown up and much more likely you will get killed in a car accident ... I was pleasantly pleased to hear an American talk sense for once 8-)

  21. stuhacking
    Black Helicopters


    If we start to see everything as tools of terrorism, then the terrorists have already won.

  22. jay 10

    Idiot MP

    Once again politicians prove they *really* don't understand a thing they are commenting on.....a pretext one again for media hysteria just because aircraft data is wrapped into an app.....they should stick to what they do best.....and server their constituents better.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    If it's so easy to use the raw data that is publicly available, then why the need for the app in the frst place.

    I'm with the "Tory alarmist" on this one.

    1. Cornholio


      "...why the need for the app in the frst place"?

      A good question that could probably be asked of most apps.

  24. Lottie

    Tory... Daily Fail...

    ... I'm surprised it doesn't also give you cancer and outsource your job to an immigrant.

  25. The Other Steve
    Thumb Up

    Free publicity for Pinkfroot

    Damn right, I'm having that, fairly pointless but oh so much fun. As for Patrick wossname, I've forgotten about him already.

  26. Mike Bell

    Woof! Woof! Woof! Woof!

    "Anything that makes it easier for our enemies to find targets is madness,"

    How about published timetables, eyes, vocal chords, legs etc.? Not to mention any form of telecommunication device. These all make it easier for enemies to find targets.

    Absolute tosser.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    instead of

    Instead of worrying about perfeclty legal toys that allow everyday hobbiests to sit around doing their thing they should be more concerned as to ensuring that a stinger missile doesn't end up in the hands of jihadists.

    But yes, yet another instance of an MP showing his complete lack of competence, and unfittness to be in charge of the nation in the modern era. When people realise that only people who have had a real profession and have a real understand of what they're talking about (instead of the political equivelant "I heard from a man down the pub" or "My mate is real angry about this, I don't know what it is but it must be bad") the better off we'll be. Oh wait, that'll never happen. le sigh.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I guess it was ok when..

    the media used similar websites to show the lack of planes in the sky during the volcanic ash debacle.

    There's a similar system for shipping too.

  29. Dr. Funk.

    surely the best place to find airplanes

    is an airport. no need to bother with overpriced smartphones or PCs.

    just go stand behind the perimiter fence at the end of the runway

  30. hugo tyson

    Won't someone think of the...


  31. Velv

    Find the target

    "Anything that makes it easier for our enemies to find targets is madness"

    Err, so the 30,000 road signs that say "AIRPORT", and have a little picture of a plane ???

  32. Rogerborg


    Hanging is too good for these monsters.

  33. Mike Richards Silver badge

    High tech not really needed

    I don't know if Patrick Mercer has noticed, but terrorists get lots of help from airlines already who have adopted the unfortunate habit painting the company name all over the sides of the aircraft - sometimes in quite bright colours.

    If anyone wanted to take out a BA flight, they'd just have to ummmm - look up.

  34. Richard Wharram

    Public service

    I'm writing an MP-spotting app. I'm thinking of making the Arabic version free.

  35. Fsck

    I don't think the app's the problem

    I think if the guy using the app has a SAM launcher, you're already 95% fucked.

    1. Geoff Campbell
      Big Brother

      SAM launcher

      I was thinking much the same, then I thought, well, perhaps what the politicians are afraid of is the tewwowists knowing which specific plane is the one that the politicians are on.


  36. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Anything that makes it easier for our enemies to find targets is madness"

    So spectacles are a tool of the enemy now?

  37. Anonymous Coward

    Daily Fail

    Nuff said.

  38. jay 10

    There are better things to be worried about than plane data

    Rather than worry about what the app is doing with legit published data - surely we should focus more on the information we have on our phones that these apps we are installing are trying to steal!!

  39. Anonymous Coward


    I was playing one of those flight traffic controller games on my iPhone at lunchtime! IT"S THE PERFECT TOOL TO LEARN HOW THE AIR TRAFFIC SYSTEM WORKS!

    My kids were playing Midtown Madness ( hey, with the steering wheel it's good fun! ) they might be planning a suicide bombing-run in 20 years time! ARGHHHH!


    FFS! Why do we allow these cretins to have have their 15 mins? We can all see this guy's a complete dildo, but the sad fact is there are enough foreigner-hating Daily Fail readers out there, who will be straight up to little Tarquin or Jocasta's bedroom tonight, to demand they hand back the iPhone they bought them for their birthday!

    Next thing these ass-hats come out and say, "Oh kid's today they know far too much about technology. It's not right! Let us put laws in place to hamper the technology and ensure we all remain as stupid and ignorant as me, as just don't understand it!"

  40. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    Don't forget buses

    Seem to remember the last bit of naughtiness was against buses - and yet the bus stops even have little displays showing the arrival of the next bus - a gift to terrorists.

    In my day the arrival time and location of buses was kept a closely guarded secret.

  41. Tempest

    Don't laugh - this brain-dead idiot makes more money than you and YOU PAY HIM!

    You now have a measure of just how stupid your elected representatives are.

    The question that needs answering: is the elected one brighter than the people who voted him in!

    1. Arctic fox

      @Tempest. To be fair.....

      .....let us say that one is a true blue Tory (I am definitly not but the point is a general one) and your local constituency party has selected an embarassing horse's pudenda as the paliamentary candidate. What is one going to do at a general election, vote Labour? I would excuse the general voting public - the real tossers are the executive commitee of the constituency party that selected this braindead selfpublicising racist motormouth.

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