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Fears of Electronic Travel Restrictions Spook the Blogosphere

Published on December 29, 2009
by Marisa Taylor

As if removing one’s shoes for the sake of airline security wasn’t already hassle enough, the attempted bombing on Northwest Airlines on Friday prompted worries about new security measures, including the unthinkable: could in-flight use of electronic devices be banned?

Numerous blogs discussed the possibility that electronic devices like laptops and MP3 players could be barred altogether on international flights arriving in the United States. The speculation came after various news outlets posted details of new security measures, including requiring passenger to remain seated during the final hour of flights.

Gizmodo, for example, on Monday posted what appeared to be a leaked memo from the Department of Homeland Security, in which the Transportation Security Administration’s acting administrator Gale Rossides wrote that airplanes should “disable aircraft-integrated passenger communications systems and services (phone, internet access services, live television programming, global positioning systems) prior to boarding and during all phases of flight.” The TSA on Monday appeared to relax some of the rules detailed in the memo.

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