Why can't we track jets directly?

Given the abundance of technology making it possible to see where jet planes are, why do we limit ourselves to options that flight crew can disable? Jad Mouawad, et al., at The New York Times:

The idea of tracking airplanes in flight or using deployable black boxes that can broadcast their location via satellites has been around for many years and gained attention after an Air France jet crashed in the Atlantic Ocean in 2009; it took investigators two years to locate the black boxes, two miles underwater. But the disappearance of the Malaysian plane and improvements in satellite technology could provide a new impetus to track planes more closely, experts said.

There are legitmate concerns about the expense of new technology, and the fire danger posed by putting electronics aboard that cannot be disabled in an emergency. But there's also clearly a lot of "a captain and his ship" bullshit in this business.

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  1. The big issue is that satellite time is limited and expensive and airlines are in perpetual financial crisis. It's an extremely rare event when a disaster like this happens.

    That said, a really low bandwidth solution (tiny burst updates every 15 minutes or so) seems like it could be workable.

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