September 28, 2006  ·  Lessig

I’m on a flight from Japan to New York for the Anderson event tonight. It is an ANA flight with wifi and ethernet jacks in at least the business/first class seats. There doesn’t seem to be any technical blocking (though I can’t get FTP to work very well). But interestingly, on the instruction sheet, it says:

ANA kindly requests that passengers refrain from using internet based voice applications and refrain from viewing objectionable material over the internet as it may disturb other passengers.

It is interesting (and refreshing) to see places where the authorities believe norms are a sufficient regulator. It is also interesting (and not surprising) to parse the “request.” Only the second restriction is explained — viewing porn, e.g., would disturb others. Fair enough. But the first restriction is not explained — until you flip the page to read about the telephone service the airplane offers (at about $10/minute).

(Note, the norm technique may also be what Google is doing on its fantastic new service giving free PDFs of works in the public domain. They too request the work not be used commercially.)