DHS Cites 'Credible Threat' As Reason For Forcing Travelers To The US To Hand Over Powered-Up Devices To Airport Security

from the new-searches-and-screenings-because-reasons dept

The Department of Homeland Security still has the power to control the world's airports, or at least those of our Five Eyes' spying allies. New DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson issued the following statement on July 2nd.

DHS continually assesses the global threat environment and reevaluates the measures we take to promote aviation security. As part of this ongoing process, I have directed TSA to implement enhanced security measures in the coming days at certain overseas airports with direct flights to the United States. We will work to ensure these necessary steps pose as few disruptions to travelers as possible. We are sharing recent and relevant information with our foreign allies and are consulting the aviation industry. These communications are an important part of our commitment to providing our security partners with situational awareness about the current environment and protecting the traveling public. Aviation security includes a number of measures, both seen and unseen, informed by an evolving environment. As always, we will continue to adjust security measures to promote aviation security without unnecessary disruptions to the traveling public.
The key part is in the second sentence: "enhanced security measures." The unspecified threat the DHS is reacting to has added a new requirement for passengers taking direct flights to the United States. In short, you'd better make sure all your electronics are charged before you reach the security checkpoint or you quite possibly won't be going anywhere.
Heathrow Airport has told passengers to ensure all electronic devices carried as hand baggage are charged before travel if they are flying to the US.

It posted details of the new rule on its website and Facebook page.

The move follows a request from the US that "certain overseas airports" implement enhanced security measures. The UK government has also revised its rules to state that if a "device doesn't switch on, you won't be allowed to bring it on to the aircraft".
Anyone who has absentmindedly allowed a battery to discharge will still have several options, according to Heathrow officials. They can use airport "charging points" to bring their devices back to life or stash them in stowed luggage. They can also mail the device to themselves if they don't mind being separated for a little extra time. This all sounds very accommodating, but simply having a drained device can place you under suspicion.
Affected passengers have been told they may also have to undergo extra screening measures.
There also seems to be a bit of a disconnect between the DHS and the affected airports as to which devices are subject to the new "charged and operable" standard. The TSA says "some devices, including mobile phones," but fails to be any more specific, exactly the sort of vague, malleable direction the TSA is fond of. Heathrow's list of electronics includes hair dryers, electric shavers, cameras and mp3 players and the wording below the list says nothing more than "make sure your electronic devices are charged before you travel."

This vagueness from everyone involved isn't a good sign. Having to present devices not normally inspected by security personnel and power them up lends itself to "incidental" device searches. The heightened suspicion of devices in general doesn't help. And wherever this "credible threat" the DHS cites in support of this move actually originates, it's apparently hoped that it will route itself through Germany, France or the UK. At this point, no other countries offering direct flights to the US have agreed to the additional security measures.


Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread


  • icon
    Ninja (profile), 8 Jul 2014 @ 3:53am

    I'm trying to find a reason why a device that doesn't power up due to a drained battery should be suspicious. Sure, the battery may have been replaced by a pack of explosives (excuse me, I'll be using my double layered tinfoil hat now) but that's easily checked: plug the device to an outlet for a few minutes and power it up. If there's any fear it will explode do it in some protected chamber. But are we really that paranoid that current security measures don't suffice?

    When some alien archaeologists come they'll really believe cellphones were used as weapons.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 8 Jul 2014 @ 5:50am

      Re:

      "Sure, the battery may have been replaced by a pack of explosives... but that's easily checked: plug the device to an outlet for a few minutes and power it up."

      According to what the article says, they're already doing this, minus the protective chamber part. Oh, and that suspicious device is also OK in stowed luggage, apparently.

      Did you perhaps expect a credible screening process rather than an extra bit of theatre?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Vincent Clement (profile), 8 Jul 2014 @ 5:56am

      Re:

      It's easily checked by waving the wand that they wave over CPAP machines. I'm really, just when you think the TSA couldn't go any lower in terms of security theatre, they prove you wrong.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 8 Jul 2014 @ 6:27am

      Re:

      Given the cramped internals of modern phones, fitting a small bomb into it could require removing some of the internals. Note that a thumb sized piece of Semtex is enough to bring a plane down, but that consumes more space than is empty in many modern devices.
      Putting devices that do not power up in the hold is slightly suspicious, unless they have definite intelligence about a suicide bomber, as a timer can be very small.
      This is not to say that the opportunity for some extra searches will not be used, or some vague intelligence is providing an excuse for some extra searches.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Ninja (profile), 8 Jul 2014 @ 6:40am

        Re: Re:

        Slight suspicious? Really? I'd be screwed. I usually drain the battery of my phone while waiting for a flight (playing games). How many planes have been exploded recently again? Is it really worth it? If the guy really wants to suicide they'll stick some explosive that's hard to detect in their asses/stomachs and just blow along with the plane. No amount of security will stop a determined person unless it's total surveillance: cavity exams, body x-rays and everything that is most invasive.

        Pitiful.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Mason Wheeler (profile), 8 Jul 2014 @ 10:44am

          Re: Re: Re:

          I usually drain the battery of my phone while waiting for a flight (playing games)

          I usually make sure it's plugged in to my laptop while doing anything like that. Having my phone drained would be a horrible thing for me, because that means I can't turn it back on when we land to check for messages. :P

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          John Fenderson (profile), 8 Jul 2014 @ 10:54am

          Re: Re: Re:

          I usually carry extra batteries for my phone when traveling. That's one of the reasons I won't buy a phone that doesn't let me replace the battery.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            MrTroy (profile), 9 Jul 2014 @ 12:52am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            While I feel this is a good and insightful point, the fact that external battery/chargers are significantly cheaper than internal batteries AND hold a much larger charge has led me to go that route. Incidentally it ameliorates the replaceable battery problem, but only until the battery NEEDS replacing because of age.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          David, 8 Jul 2014 @ 3:10pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          I usually drain the battery of my phone while waiting for a flight (playing games).

          And that's why TSA wants to ensure that the battery of a suicide bomber's phone will last until the plane has landed safely and everybody left.

          Who in his right mind would blow himself up while he still has a highscore to beat?

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Michael, 8 Jul 2014 @ 6:44am

        Re: Re:

        Note that a thumb sized piece of Semtex is enough to bring a plane down

        Note that Semtex can be detected by the X-Ray scanners they have been using for the last 1/2 century.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          David, 8 Jul 2014 @ 10:56am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Actually, telling apart Semtex and chocolate via X-ray can be pretty difficult, and there are a number of other substances which have similar properties.

          Now Semtex is annoyingly inert, so what you want to be looking for on your X-rays are strange wires and the rather distinctive standard detonators used with it.

          I'd expect "sensible terrorists" to revert to different chemicals that are easier to blow up.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Don Joe, 8 Jul 2014 @ 7:54am

        Re: Re:

        I think I might be able to fit some of this new type of explosive in the empty space of my 1980s walkman. I bet I'll even be able to listen to music afterwards.

        Also, if you were planning to take a walkman with you on an airplane, better do so before the NSA sends this comment to the DHS.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Michael, 8 Jul 2014 @ 8:00am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Those things are just copyright infringement tools anyway. The DHS will be arriving in SWAT gear (probably leased from a privately owned SWAT organization) to get that from you shortly.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Michael, 8 Jul 2014 @ 7:18am

      Re:

      I'm trying to find a reason why a device that doesn't power up due to a drained battery should be suspicious

      I am wondering why a device that does power up is suddenly off of the suspicious list.

      Stupid rules like this make it easier to get things through the screening process because rather than checking if a device is full of, you know, explosives or weapons, they start to focus on whether or not it functions.

      It would not be difficult to take the guts out of an old IBM Thinkpad, replace it with components 1/4 of the size, and have a device full of empty space that powers up just fine.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Dav, 8 Jul 2014 @ 11:00am

        Re: Re:

        I'd expect that it's easy enough to replace the large batteries in a ghettoblaster by a stack of mercury cells in one of the batteries and explosives in the rest. The mercury cells will be sufficient for powering up the thing for a demonstration.

        Now of course a ghettoblaster is not common enough to receive no extra scrutiny these days, but you get the drift.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        orbitalinsertion (profile), 8 Jul 2014 @ 9:03pm

        Re: Re:

        They want ten more "reasons" to give the public to rifle through your electronics and read the data when they randomly feel like it.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Vidiot (profile), 8 Jul 2014 @ 8:32am

      Sounds familiar

      The "power up" thing has generated quite a buzz, pardon the expression, but I clearly remember a time when that was pretty much standard -- don't fly with a device that wouldn't switch on. For us TV people, it meant don't pack the broadcast-camera batteries in the checked luggage... keep at least one with the carried-on camera. Can't say when that policy was ever rescinded, actually.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Violynne (profile), 8 Jul 2014 @ 4:00am

    FAA: Turn off all devices.

    DHS: Turn on all devices.

    Our wonderful government is so screwed up, they can't even give the same instructions to its people.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 8 Jul 2014 @ 5:43am

      Re:

      I think the goal is to have so many rules that one loses sight of them, and as many conflicting rules as possible. The goal is to have something on everyone, to eliminate the bother of finding due cause.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      jaack65 (profile), 9 Jul 2014 @ 8:28am

      Re: FAA DHS Then FCC

      The FCC says most devices must accept any type of interference but were not thinking of any TSA official INTERFERENCE.
      Must I leave my underwear behind(pun intended) if it has skid mark or evidence of explosive discharges? My shoes might be excessively worn too are they next? Where does it stop???

      Follow El Al airlines security. They don't have hijackings, are less invasive of children and their security really works. But they pay their security people a very good salary, live depend on the quality of their work!

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Marvin (profile), 9 Jul 2014 @ 5:51pm

      Re: Bureacratic self contradictory admisnstrative law

      How can they do this without a jury of my peers?

      Amendment 6 - Right to Speedy Trial, Confrontation of Witnesses. Ratified 12/15/1791.

      In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Sheogorath (profile), 10 Jul 2014 @ 5:24am

        Re: Re: Bureacratic self contradictory admisnstrative law

        In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial.
        And isn't that just what you get at US airports nowadays, trial by groping in full view of the public?

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 8 Jul 2014 @ 5:48am

    They're just doing their best to create a voluntary no-fly list. I know I have no desire to fly under the TSA's rule.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 8 Jul 2014 @ 5:57am

    Cell phone bombs? Didn't screening machines become advanced enough to detect explosives over say a lithium polymer cell?

    Yes, indeed they have. This is nothing but security theatre all over again. The lazy way out. "Does it turn on?"

    Why not just eliminate public passenger flight in the US entirely and get it over with, because sooner or later every airline there will go bankrupt due to the excessive regulations as nobody will want to fly them anymore.

    Oh, the government will bail them out? Thats makes it okay.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 8 Jul 2014 @ 6:03am

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    ThatFatMan (profile), 8 Jul 2014 @ 6:13am

    Maybe TSA is french...

    Agence de Sécurité Theater

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Nathan Brathahn (profile), 8 Jul 2014 @ 6:15am

    no body cavity search?

    I thought three letter agencies could do better

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Manok, 8 Jul 2014 @ 6:17am

    Another thing to worry and be nervous about, when traveling. Osama doesn't scare many, but the security itself does.

    I also highly doubt whether there are new/extra charging points available on the airport. But I suppose tere aren't. Mailing service? On the other side of the airport, with of course limited opening hours. And with an airport price tag.

    If they wanted to do it right, they would have charging points right where the inspection is, including the chargers themselves.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    RadioactiveSmurf (profile), 8 Jul 2014 @ 6:18am

    Anyone else read the name Jeh and think it's a partial name? Apparantly it's a variant of Jay. Off topic I realize but that name just makes me pause everytime I read it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      BeeAitch (profile), 8 Jul 2014 @ 4:43pm

      Re:

      JEH

      Name of a female demon in a small number of Zoroastrian Middle Persian texts. The name of Jeh is commonly, but with little justification, translated as “whore.” It is the Middle Persian rendering of Avestan jahī- (or jahikā-). That word is used in a number of different meanings, but it appears to have originally meant “woman” and can still be recognized in this meaning in many Avestan passages...

      From (and more at): http://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/jeh

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Haggie, 8 Jul 2014 @ 6:20am

    This is simply nonsensical. What if I have a corded electronic device?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 8 Jul 2014 @ 6:24am

      Re:

      You cannot apply sense to an organization like this...

      Terrorist... who uses cords these days?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Michael, 8 Jul 2014 @ 6:28am

      Re:

      What is a corded electronic device?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 8 Jul 2014 @ 6:40am

        Re: Re:

        A corded electronic device can be anything from an alarm clock, to an adult massage aid.

        "Airport Security Officer: it's a dildo. Of course it's company policy never to, imply ownership in the event of a dildo... always use the indefinite article a dildo, never your dildo."

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 8 Jul 2014 @ 11:05pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Oh crap... what if the TSA is nothing but a figment of our collective imagination, projecting a repressed love of authoritarianism hidden behind our professed desire for civil liberty?

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            Sheogorath (profile), 10 Jul 2014 @ 5:31am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Oh crap... what if the TSA is nothing but a figment of our collective imagination, projecting a repressed love of authoritarianism hidden behind our professed desire for civil liberty?
            Unfortunately not. The DHS, TSA, and other intrusive three-letter agencies are the result of governments bringing George Orwell's 1984 to life.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 8 Jul 2014 @ 10:21am

        Re: Re:

        A corded mouse. Also has plenty of space inside ? (I am not going to kill one of my old ones to check, I may need it and am cheap enough to keep them as spares). They need to check all mice.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        orbitalinsertion (profile), 8 Jul 2014 @ 9:07pm

        Re: Re:

        A device you can strangle 50 people with, almost instantly.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 8 Jul 2014 @ 6:20am

    Fly on commercial airlines sounds a lot like flying on Con Air. Except you have to pay for your ticket.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Chris ODonnell (profile), 8 Jul 2014 @ 6:25am

    If they were series about security the answer is simple.

    No carry on anything allowed, and everybody flies naked.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 8 Jul 2014 @ 6:35am

      Re:

      Not only no carry on, but no luggage whatsoever, it could contain a bomb.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        justok (profile), 8 Jul 2014 @ 6:48am

        Re: Re:

        Rectum, stomach and intestines are not permitted either. You may mail them to yourself, 'tho.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        John Fenderson (profile), 8 Jul 2014 @ 7:41am

        Re: Re:

        I've been doing this for over a decade now. I ship my luggage to my destination ahead of time through UPS. Originally, it was to guarantee my luggage wouldn't get lost. Now it's to avoid having it searched and exposed to the resultant threat of theft. Also, given the luggage surcharges that many airlines have now, it's not even much more expensive than checking a bag.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Bt Garner (profile), 8 Jul 2014 @ 6:47am

    I used to travel to europe a lot in the early 2000s, and this was standard practice at most places (Germany, Switzerland, UK) after 9/11.

    They wanted you to power up your electronics to show that they still worked and that you had not replaced a component with some sort of incendiary device,

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 8 Jul 2014 @ 6:50am

    Look on the plus side

    Maybe theft by TSA will go down if they believe they might explode.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 8 Jul 2014 @ 6:51am

    Who's the source for the "credible threat"? Lindsey Graham?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Christopher (profile), 8 Jul 2014 @ 6:56am

    it's to look into your phone

    The bomb-sniffers will catch your explosive-laden devices. Having your cellphone on means the TSA can browse your phone's data. Turned off, they can't without powering it up and presumably bypassing your passcode.

    Keep your phones encrypted.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Jake, 8 Jul 2014 @ 7:06am

    This used to be routine in Britain in the 90s, but that was because the casing of a laptop from those days could hold a handgun and several spare magazines with room to spare if you stripped out the works. (Not to mention the fact that we had a real terrorist threat back then!)

    But what the hell is the point in this now? Especially if it only applies to hand baggage, not stuff that's going in the hold? I bet you could still fit a decent-sized bomb or a few grand's worth of cocaine into a modern laptop.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Andrew Norton (profile), 8 Jul 2014 @ 7:12am

    most credible threat to the US

    It's been clear for years there is indeed a credible threat to the US. It's the Department of Homeland Security, including it's subsidiary, the TSA.

    I think their actions have shown them to be more than credible threats to Americans and their freedom.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    SimonB (profile), 8 Jul 2014 @ 7:17am

    What is next? When will they be happy?

    Are we to have body cavity searches if we don't use the rest rooms and provide a receipt of material expelled?

    When will they realise that this is exactly the kind of reaction that is desired? They want us to give up our freedoms? They want to impose capricious authoritarian laws. At the rate we are going we are going we are going to achieve all they want without them actually carrying out any further atrocities in Europe or the States.

    I for one would like to see a reduction in the FUD and a near blanket removal of most of the pointless security checks introduced since 9/11, Richard Reid and the liquid bomb plot.

    Lets face it most of the security measures introduced won't actually stop any of these happening again. I do say most as clearly making it much harder for high-jackers to enter the cockpit and therefore take over the plane. But the rest of it? Really?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 8 Jul 2014 @ 7:37am

    So, UK mentality is...

    "Only terrorists have flat batteries."

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 8 Jul 2014 @ 8:05am

      Re:

      No, the UK mentality is "we have to do what the US tells us to". Note that it's only flights to the US affected here. You can fly anywhere else through the UK without this restriction according to their own guidelines.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 9 Jul 2014 @ 3:41am

        Re: Re:

        This article says otherwise.

        So does this one; http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-28223150

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          PaulT (profile), 9 Jul 2014 @ 3:48am

          Re: Re: Re:

          No, both say what I said they did:

          "The move follows a request from the US that "certain overseas airports" implement enhanced security measures."

          "But the Department for Transport (DfT) has now issued updated guidelines, saying: "In line with the US advice..."

          "American officials ordered some overseas airports with direct flights to the US to intensify screening of electronic devices last week."

          What do you think they say?

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 8 Jul 2014 @ 8:28am

    As part of this ongoing process, I have directed TSA to implement enhanced security measures in the coming days at certain overseas airports with direct flights to the United States.

    Does that not reek of Empire, implying that the TSA has jurisdiction in foreign countries?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    TestPilotDummy, 8 Jul 2014 @ 8:32am

    devices (TM)

    I guess I just don't understand this one. With all the unemployed people, who can afford to have a mobile phone, let alone the cost of aircraft travel? But even with that unanswered to myself, pretending for a moment there's enough people that can afford it, the question is WHY do you still buy it when they spy on you? Why would you pay for something that is a named known spy target? In fact why are mobile services still not bankrupt? Should have been a global boycott by now. Oh that's right it wasn't on MSNBC so it ain't the truth yet.

    Idiots. Stop Paying to be spied on.
    I Say..
    Let Ma Bell Burn in Hell.
    Restore the US Constitution

    With all the spying going on, you'd be better off with a two way radio instead. Your not giving bank account last four's "accidentally" over a radio, since you will be doing your business in person. And if ya got CB, then you don't really even need a name. Not to mention with anal oath breakers out there, there's no contacts, addresses, phones, etc., inside a CB for them to illegally search.

    I know, repetitive rant, but that's why you love my posts.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    afn29129 (profile), 8 Jul 2014 @ 8:33am

    unlock your device...

    Unlock your device so we can search it's digital contents.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Bob, 8 Jul 2014 @ 10:30am

    Heathrow Airport Security

    I went through Heathrow on the way back to the States and every 4th person had their carry-on set aside for a "random enhanced security" check. Took 45 minutes to get my carry-on through the security check point.

    No reason given, just every 4th passenger. Seems to me it was the, "Your country started it!" friends of mine got when flying out of Germany.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Michael, 8 Jul 2014 @ 10:54am

    Does anyone find anything about the DHS 'credible' these days?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    John85851 (profile), 8 Jul 2014 @ 12:36pm

    What if the kids drain the battery?

    On the one hand, I remember having to turn on my laptop when going through security before 9/11. So, asking people to turn on their device in theory is a sound idea.

    However, what happens when a family charges their iPad, gets on a flight from London to New York, and their kid drains the battery while in flight?
    Will the TSA let the parents charge the device or will they assume they're terrorists in disguise?

    I'm sure the TSA will let them through, especially if they're a white family with a US passport. But heaven help the dark-skinned family coming from Iran through London to New York.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Case, 8 Jul 2014 @ 2:02pm


    Anyone who has absentmindedly allowed a battery to discharge will still have several options, according to Heathrow officials. They can use airport "charging points" to bring their devices back to life

    ...and since the charger happens to be the USB port these days, it's only a matter of time till the NSA will start putting some extras into those kindly provided chargers.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 9 Jul 2014 @ 1:36am

      Re:

      I'd have to dig around, but I'm pretty sure a good while back there was an article about pretty much exactly that happening at a security conference, where a group wanted to point out just how insanely easy it would be to compromise a bunch of electronic devices by helpfully offering 'charging' stations.

      Of course I'm sure such a stunt would never be used by the TSA or another agency working alongside them that would love to have access to countless electronic devices and the data on them... /s

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    gorehound (profile), 8 Jul 2014 @ 2:23pm

    Coming soon the TSA will perform Anal Cavity Searching to enter Airports.

    I avoid flying year round except the minimal parent visiting I have to do other wise I do not fly.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      John Fenderson (profile), 8 Jul 2014 @ 3:46pm

      Re:

      I envy you. I have managed to whittle things down to 2-3 flights per year. I wish I could make it zero. Thanks, TSA, for turning something that is inherently fun into an even more expensive dystopian nightmare.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 8 Jul 2014 @ 4:18pm

    Meanwhile....

    The dumbasses can't stop the reckless or suicidal from becoming wheel well stowaways. Which means everything going on inside the airport is a complete waste of time when malevolent actors could simply wander onto the runway with a hand-truck containing a man-sized bomb and put it in the wheel well, then walk away and watch the news waiting for the breaking story about a plane exploding. Mission accomplished.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 8 Jul 2014 @ 4:30pm

    Now even less interest in visiting the USA

    Years ago, I made a decision to never visit the USA - it had gone bad to worse then. This just increases the justification of my arguments to never visit the USA.

    Maybe we should start calling it the United States of Angst, a much more appropriate title.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Seegras (profile), 9 Jul 2014 @ 2:43am

      Re: Now even less interest in visiting the USA

      I won't visit any states in which due process is not respected and people are subject to being fingerprinted and recorded by the police upon arrival.

      So I won't travel to North Korea, Turkmenistan or the USA.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Sheogorath (profile), 10 Jul 2014 @ 5:43am

      Re: Now even less interest in visiting the USA

      Maybe we should start calling it the United States of Angst, a much more appropriate title.
      Or the United States of Asshattery.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    JMT (profile), 8 Jul 2014 @ 6:03pm

    Classic security theatre

    "Anyone who has absentmindedly allowed a battery to discharge will still have several options, according to Heathrow officials. They can use airport "charging points" to bring their devices back to life or stash them in stowed luggage. They can also mail the device to themselves..."

    So if your electronic device is deemed too suspicious to be allowed into the plane's cabin, they give you the option of putting it somewhere else on the plane, or put it on another plane! How is this safer?!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Joe K, 8 Jul 2014 @ 8:18pm

    why assume it's about explosives?

    Not that i know anything about it, but I would assume that the rule
    has more to do with fingerprinting the devices in question.

    Or something like that.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Sheogorath (profile), 10 Jul 2014 @ 5:41am

    What's the betting...

    The next terrorist atrocity won't even involve an aircraft, it'll be committed in the now overcrowded departures lounge by someone without a ticket, who isn't a foreign insurgent, but a domestic one whose actions are driven by being groped a few too many times.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Jul 2014 @ 11:35am

    I will never visit USA.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Use markdown for basic formatting. HTML is no longer supported.
  Save me a cookie
Follow Techdirt
Techdirt Gear
Shop Now: I Invented Email
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads

Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.