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Airline passenger told inflight videochat is illegal because of terrorism

John Battelle, a respected journalist in the high-tech industry and partner at Boing Boing was flying across the country on a Wi-Fi-enabled plane when he decided he needed to talk to his family.

He pulled out his lap top and started talking to them through video chat, wishing his children


John Battelle, a respected journalist in the high-tech industry and partner at Boing Boing was flying across the country on a Wi-Fi-enabled plane when he decided he needed to talk to his family.

He pulled out his lap top and started talking to them through video chat, wishing his children good night before they were tucked into bed.

A United Airlines flight attendant then accused him of being a possible terrorist, as he explains on his blog.

“Security. Cameras not allowed!” was the response. There was clearly no argument.

I protested, but not too loudly. I don’t want to end up stripped searched in a cold basement cell below SFO, after all.

The flight attendant told him communicating on two-way devices is illegal and considered possible terrorist-related.

After all, it would allow terrorists to tuck their kids into bed before taking over the cockpit and flying  the plane into a building.

The real reason, Battelle later discovered in an FAA quidebook, is that it would make it uncomfortable for other seatmates. As if the airline industry actually cares about passenger comfort.

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