Inside money, markets, and Big Tech

This article was published on January 23, 2008


    Wi-Fi did NOT cause Boeing crash, Gordon Brown did.

    Wi-Fi did NOT cause Boeing crash, Gordon Brown did.


    Boris Veldhuijzen van Zanten
    Story by

    Boris Veldhuijzen van Zanten

    CEO and co-founder, TNW

    Boris is a serial entrepreneur who founded not only TNW, but also V3 Redirect Services (sold), HubHop Wireless Internet Provider (sold), and Boris is a serial entrepreneur who founded not only TNW, but also V3 Redirect Services (sold), HubHop Wireless Internet Provider (sold), and pr.co. Boris is very active on Twitter as @Boris and Instagram: @Boris.

    A good headline does a lot for an article and sometimes it can be attractive to make things look bigger than they are. Titles like “Did an UFO steal my milk?” just work better than “Milk missing from doorstep”. We all understand that and use it to our advantage. Just like I just did with this article title.

    But maybe ZDNet went a bit too far when they titled a post “Did Wi-Fi interference cause Boeing 777 crash?“. A questionable source, Nina Anderson, author of ‘Worse Than Global Warming — Wave Technology’ speculates that “interference from rogue radio frequencies could have influenced the aircraft’s “brain”, causing one or more of its electronically-controlled systems — such as the auto-pilot, auto-throttle and power management — to fail”.

    ZDNet explains that “The recent BA038 crash-landing at Heathrow airport may have been caused by interference from wireless networks, which affected the aircraft’s electronically controlled power and automated flight systems.”. In other words: don’t you EVER use Wi-Fi because you might crash a plane!

    Gordon Brown
    Gordon Brown

    in reality, and explained later in the article, no such thing could happen. All wiring in these aircrafts is heavily shielded against radiation, radio signals and stray currents that might interfere. So there is actually no need to worry about your Wi-Fi usage in airplanes.

    Fortunately there is a more interesting conspiracy theory offered in the comments by Joe Ralph:

    The plane allegedly flew over or very close to Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s car as it came into the airport. It’s certainly not beyond question that his convoy was using ‘electronic jamming’ equipment (to block remote detonation of roadside bombs etc) and that would be far stronger than any wifi signal.

    Now THAT is a juicy developing story!