A cheap mobile phone application that can track the precise location of passenger aircraft in the sky could prove a serious threat to the aviation industry according to security experts who have called for its immediate ban. With the Plane Finder AR application, developed by a British firm, Apple iPhone and Google's Android users can point their mobile phones at the sky and see the position, height and speed of nearby aircraft.
The application also shows the airline, flight number, departure point, destination and also the likely course, the features of which could be used to target aircraft with a surface-to-air missile or to cause planes on a collide, according to a report in the 'Daily Mail'.
The programme sells for only £1.79 in the online Apple store and has now been labeled as an 'aid to terrorists' by security experts, with the US Department of Homeland Security now examining means to protect airliners.
The application intercepts the so-called Automatic Dependent Surveillance - Broadcasts (ADS-B) transmitted by most passenger aircraft to a new satellite tracking system that supplements and in some countries, replaces radar.
Though British and European air traffic control systems have to yet adopt the technology, it is being fitted in all new aircraft, which now constantly broadcast their positions.
Following the 11 September attacks in US in 2001 a senior federal aviation administration official had warned that ADS-B could be used by terrorists.