If you are a frequent flyer on airlines you will be familiar with the request for passengers to turn off all electronic devices. If recent developments are to be believed however, this requirement may be a thing of the past. The Federal Aviation Administration apparently created a working group a year ago to study portable electronics use on airplanes.
Recent developments in the use of electronic on airlines, the most prominent of which it's when Alec Baldwin was asked to disembark when he refused to quit playing Words With Friends, has led some to question it inconsistent and dubious rule. The FAA currently allows iPads as flight manuals in airline cockpits. This has resulted in providing devices with information on flight procedures to some flight attendants.
Senator Claire McCaskill, a Democrat from Missouri, learned of these inconsistencies and has vowed to hold the FAA accountable by introducing legislation regulating electronics use. In a phone interview with the New York Times, she said, "So it's O.K. to have iPads in the cockpit; it's O.K. for flight attendants -- and they are not in a panic -- yet it's not O.K. for the traveling public," she said. "A flying copy of 'War and Peace' is more dangerous than a Kindle."
The issue of electronics use on airplanes will be even more relevant as more wearable computers become commonplace. Consumers are now boarding airplanes wearing devices like the Nike FuelBand and Jawbone Up both of which are used to track activity levels. In the near future passengers will be wearing Google Glass and an Apple iWatch. Government agencies are known to react slowly to developments in society. If push comes to shove the FAA will be changing very quickly very soon or have Congress push them into the present.
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