The Plane Finder AR app for iPhone is causing British Conservative MP Patrick Mercer, former chairman of the Parliamentary Counter Terrorism sub-committee, to lose sleep.
The augmented reality application shows the viewer on the iPhone screen where planes are in the sky and their number, registration, speed, altitude, and distance.
Mercer thinks that such an application is dangerous, as terrorists would be able to use it to find and track planes in the sky.
"Anything that makes it easier for our enemies to find targets is madness. The Government must look at outlawing the marketing of such equipment," said Mercer.
What Mercer may fail to realize is that the application uses information that's already publically available to everyone, even to those without an iPhone or other smartphone. All one would need is a Automatic Dependent Surveillance — Broadcast receiver hooked up to a computer and all the information is freely available.
Pinkfroot, the company behind the Plane Finder app, said that they haven't had any objection to the app from the authorities. In fact, the developers built in a 30-second delay from real-time in the interest of safety – though anyone who wanted to get the immediate info could build their own ADS-B or radar.
The UK Department of Transport doesn't seem that worried, though, as it said, "This application might be new but the ability to track aircraft isn’t."