FCC Chairman Urges FAA to Reconsider Dumb Rule About Electronic Devices During Takeoffs


The holidays are upon us, and that means millions of Americans are shuffling dejectedly into winged metal tubes and flinging themselves across the country. The recipe for air travel is well-known to anyone who has flown in the last decade: Take your shoes off at security, leave your eyeglasses repair kit (weapon!) and your medium-sized hand lotion (bomb!) at home, and of course, the chiding to "Please turn off your electronic devices" at takeoff and landing. 

Upon hearing this chiding, many have pondered how exactly it is that reading I Saw Zombies Eating Santa Claus on Kindle might cause the plane to fall out of the sky. If you too have had this thought, you're not alone. But it's not just the New York Times and Alec Baldwin (our go-to sources for all things) who think the rule is silly: FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski recently wrote a letter urging the FAA to update its rules on gadget use.

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Last week, Genachowski sent a letter to Michael Huerta, acting administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration, urging the FAA to "enable greater use of tablets, e-readers, and other portable electronic devices during flight, consistent with public safety." He goes on to write:

I support the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) initiative to review the polices, guidance, and procedures regarding the use of such devices. 
This review comes at a time of tremendous innovation, as mobile devices are increasingly interwoven in our daily lives. They empower people to stay informed and connected with friends and family, and they enable both large and small businesses to be more productive and efficient, helping drive economic growth and boost U.S. competitiveness."

The FAA is slated to revise its policies soon, and considering that it approved pilots using iPads as flight manuals, we're hopeful that we'll soon be able to play Temple Run in peace without severe-faced people in blazers yelling at us.

They may take our shampoo but not our Freedom (Fighters)!

For events in San Francisco this week and beyond, check out our calendar section. Follow us on Twitter at @ExhibitionistSF and like us on Facebook. Follow Anna Pulley at @annapulley.

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