Thanks to some hackers, the protection offered by the BARR program will soon disappear. Since airplane registration numbers are a matter of public record, everyone will soon be able to find out who is flying where and when.

What is BARR?

The Block Aircraft Registration Request (BARR) program allows aircraft owners and operators to opt-out of having their flight information broadcast on the Internet in real time. Websites like flightaware.com make it easy to track commercial flights and private flights that haven’t registered with BARR.

What is openBARR.net?

The site openbarr.net enables anyone to track any flight in real time, even if it has requested to keep its flight information private. All you need is an Internet connection and the tail number to keep tabs on the location of a plane. This website was announced at DEF CON, a hacker’s conference, in Las Vegas at the end of July.

What are ramifications of openBARR.net?

I’m sure TMZ and other celebrity “news” sites think it’s about time they have access to this valuable information. However, tracking flights mid-air is an infringement on privacy, and that affects every U.S. citizen. So nobody really cares when and where I fly, but if I hop on a commercial flight, nobody is the wiser. I’m just one of dozens or hundreds of passengers. But a private jet with familiar tail number (can you guess who N236MJ belongs to?) will soon be trackable in real time for all the over-zealous fans and reporters to mob at the landing.

But enough about celebrities. The openBARR.net will have huge effects on business. Interested parties can see where CEOs fly and potentially break up a big business deal or merger. Forget about confidential negotiations.

So what can we do to combat openBARR.net? Share your thoughts with us.