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Watchdog probes rules for naughty mobe fondling on flights

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US regulators are going to look into the rules that stop passengers using their "interfering" electronic gizmos on aeroplanes.

The Federal Aviation Administration announced that it would be setting up a government and industry group to assess how airlines decide which gadgets can be used and when.

The current norm is to be told to turn off iPods, mobiles and laptops completely when taking off and landing, while most can be turned back on after the plane levels out – even phones as long as they're in flight mode.

Much urban myth surrounds whether or not these bans are necessary or just a hangover from the days of much less sophisticated tech.

“We’re looking for information to help air carriers and operators decide if they can allow more widespread use of electronic devices in today’s aircraft,” acting FAA administrator Michael Huerta said in a canned statement. “We also want solid safety data to make sure tomorrow’s aircraft designs are protected from interference.”

The group won't be deciding whether phone calls can be made during flights or not, but it will look into the testing methods that aircraft operators use to trial new technologies and the standards associated with using gadgets during flights.

Folks from mobile firms, aircraft manufacturers, pilot groups, airlines and passenger associations will form the group with government representatives in the autumn. They will meet for six months before presenting recommendations to the FAA. ®

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