United Airlines: Free Means Install Our DRM

Registered Trademark of United Airlines

In yet another episode of an airline running afoul of a technologist, United Airlines is now outed as demanding the user install DRM software just to watch a movie while flying with them.

Part of their in-flight “free” entertainment package, United requests the user install DRM in order to view a movie on their laptop. In a previous generation of flight service, the passenger wouldn’t even require a laptop to watch a movie.

Entrepreneur Brian Fitzpatrick found the ransom pop-up much to his dismay, and by all indications declined to install a patch to his browser for the sole benefit of a single flight. Instead, he took to Twitter, saying:united-airlines-wifi-entertainment-requires-drm-digital-rights-management-spyware-bad-customer-service

The security-minded will have already reached the logical conclusion: Fitzpatrick could be the exception. Many users might gladly install the extension to watch the video, and never uninstall it.

Also read: Steven Spielberg Joins Hollywood Virtual Reality Company

There’s no telling how secure such an extension is; its popularity is not predicated on competition, but rather on how strong the user’s desire to watch the movie is or isn’t. The company’s system also reminds a wise user, who may have removed Flash in the wake of the recent Hacking Team dump and its disclosures, that he has no Flash, and offers to install it for the user.

What do you think? Is United Airlines overstepping its bounds? Would you install the plugin? Comment below.


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P. H. Madore has covered the cryptocurrency beat over the course of hundreds of articles for Hacked's sister site, CryptoCoinsNews, as well as some of her competitors. He is a major contributing developer to the Woodcoin project, and has made technical contributions on a number of other cryptocurrency projects. In spare time, he recently began a more personalized, weekly newsletter at http://ico.phm.link