Sad For AvGeeks: China Bans Flightradar24

The Chinese government has banned Flightradar24, a real-time app that tracks aircrafts. This is a major setback for aviation geeks in China. This ban is part of China’s concern about foreign agencies accessing China's data. According to reports, the Beijing Municipal National Security Bureau has decided that Flightradar24 and other data-sharing services pose a security risk to military aircraft.
It was discovered in 2020 that a citizen had signed up for equipment from Flightradar24 to help track aircraft. Although Flightradar24 has recently moved towards satellite-based ABSB tracking, the core network of Flightradar24 is still made up of receivers that are hosted by thousands of volunteers from around the globe. China was the first case where equipment was seized by the volunteer who had offered to help Flightradar24. The government wasn't in the loop.

This all happened after the Chinese Ministry of State Security released a classified investigation into the theft of Chinese airline information by a foreign spy agency. It is not clear if Flightradar24 was involved in this, or if it was collateral damage.

While I don't know how things work in China, it is clear that military aircraft in the United States generally don't appear on Flightradar24. Although I don't see any security risks, I think checking my Gmail is not a significant security risk. China seems to disagree. Although Flightradar24 is still able to track flights from China, it seems impossible to do so if you are in China.

Flightradar24 is something I use almost every time I go to an airport. It allows me to see which planes are arriving or departing, how traffic is, and other information. Why do I need it? It is not necessary. It is entertaining and fun.

Bottom line

China has banned Flightradar24 flight tracking app, citing concerns about foreign entities accessing Chinese data. Although it doesn't appear that Flightradar24 is a significant risk, I'm not China so it's...


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