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US Government considering complete ban on in-flight cellphone calls

08/04, 4:18pm

Ban focuses on disruptive nature of phone calls rather than technical issues

Not a year after some usage limitations on airplanes were lifted for smartphones and tablets comes news that the United States government is looking to issue a permanent ban on in-flight voice calls. The Department of Transportation (DOT) is reportedly developing a "notice of proposed rulemaking," according to the Wall Street Journal, that could bring an end to cellphone calls onboard planes before they start.

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US Department of Transportation wants to regulate navigation apps

06/16, 6:40pm

Government seeks right to require app changes if dangerous, remove device distractions

With smartphone navigation sitting in a gray area for operation in cars, the United States government is looking to set rules on how applications can be used. If the recently-announced Grow America Act is enacted as law, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) would have control to set rules for in-car navigation systems. This would include any applications powered by smartphones, including Google Maps, Apple Maps and Waze among others.

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Government confirms interference in latest LightSquared test

12/15, 10:40pm

Company still faces opponents

Just one week after a leaked draft of a government report pointed to ongoing interference problems with LightSquared's network, the US Department of Defense and Department of Transportation have issued a joint statement echoing the concerns. The agencies claim the network will not interfere with cellphones, however it has demonstrated "harmful interference to the majority of other tested general purpose GPS receivers."

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Ford using Wi-Fi, phones for car-to-car warnings

01/26, 12:00pm

Ford to use Wi-Fi and phones for car warnings

Ford this morning claimed to be the first car builder to develop a practical wireless system that would let cars talk to each other. Using Wi-Fi or a secure FCC-given frequency, cars would detect each other within range and warn each other of traffic dangers. It could alert the driver of other cars reaching a blind intersection, if a car up ahead has suddenly stopped or gone erratic, or if a traffic jam would make a detour faster.

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Lithium batteries to be banned from air luggage

12/28, 3:35pm

Luggage lithium ban

Within days, air travellers will no longer be able hold loose lithium batteries in their luggage, the US Department of Transportation says. As of January 1st, batteries will either have to be inserted into a phone, notebook or other electronic device, or else dropped into a plastic bag, and bundled along with carry-on baggage in a limit of two batteries per passenger.

The issue, according to the Federal Aviation Administration, is that if a lithium battery catches fire while in a cargo hold, current extinguishing systems are unable to stop the blaze. The National Transportation Safety Board insists that it cannot rule out lithium as the source of a plane fire at the Philadelphia International Airport in 2006.

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