Computers

by Mike Masnick


Filed Under:
bans, dhs, eu, flights, laptops, security theater, us



US & EU Not Banning Laptops On Planes... Yet

from the stay-tuned dept

Last week there were reports claiming that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) was just about ready to ban any laptops from being in the passenger cabin on any flights between the EU and the US. As we pointed out this made no sense, even if there were credible reports of terrorists turning laptops into bombs (as the rumor goes). The plan was supposedly set to go into effect last Thursday, but on that day DHS said it hadn't made a final decision yet. Of course, apparently some over eager airline employees had official signs printed up claiming the ban was already in place (leading to later apologies).

Apparently, the decision not to implement the ban came because EU officials were not thrilled with the idea and wanted to discuss -- leading to a series of meetings. Of course, that also allowed time for the airline industry to snap to attention and announce that such a ban might cost travelers around $1 billion. Admittedly, there may be some dubious math involved... but it's fairly obvious that such a plan would lead to all sorts of problems for travelers -- from general lost productivity, to delays and confusion around checking the laptops, to broken, lost or stolen computers and more.

At least for now, we can breathe a sigh of relief that the EU/US meetings have ended without a plan to ban laptops on planes... though such a plan could always pop out again in the near future (and, it will almost certainly happen if there is an airplane bombing). And, of course, there's still the ominous "other measures" still being considered:

US and EU officials have decided against a ban on laptops and tablets in cabin baggage on flights from Europe.

But after a four-hour meeting in Brussels to discuss the threats to aviation security, officials said other measures were still being considered.

Air travel security theater continues to be the worst security theater.


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  • icon
    Roger Strong (profile), 18 May 2017 @ 11:51am

    Admittedly...

    My opinion on the carry-on electronics ban depends ENTIRELY on whether it extends to VR helmets.

    Good, cheap VR helmets from several manufacturers are hitting the market later this year. Including models that don't need to be tied to a desktop or laptop PC.

    Which means that in five years your flight could be full of people wearing VR helmets, their arms flailing in all directions.

    This is a small price to pay to stop that.

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

  • icon
    orbitalinsertion (profile), 18 May 2017 @ 11:53am

    Maximize aviation security. Shut it all down. Disconnect your airplanes from the sky.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 May 2017 @ 11:54am

    New-&-Improved

    "Air travel security theater continues..."

    Well, yeah, sort o', but this looks more the the TSA with a Trump rebranding, i.e., bolder, brasher, less well-informed, and not taking any external consultation before the announcement...you know, Tweetable.

    Can we start call the Trumpster "Tweetie" yet?

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

  • identicon
    Rekrul, 18 May 2017 @ 12:13pm

    ""Effective May 12 Passengers will only be permitted to carry a cell phone onboard flights returning to the United States. All other personal electronic device will be required to be stolen by TSA workers pawing through your luggage."

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 May 2017 @ 12:14pm

    >Which means that in five years your flight could be full of people wearing VR helmets, their arms flailing in all directions.

    At the rate airline seats are shrinking, in five years your flight attendant could be saying, "please take shallow breaths only for the duration of this flight, so as to give your neighbors' diaphragms room to expand."

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

  • identicon
    Jordan Chandler, 18 May 2017 @ 12:42pm

    replacement

    If the laptop breaks while under the plane, will the airline take responsibility
    ?

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

    • icon
      Berenerd (profile), 18 May 2017 @ 1:06pm

      Re: replacement

      If the laptop is lost/stolen after you hand it in to them, will they pay for the lost data and hardware? What about the time on that report you saved for your big job pitch you were planning for months?

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 18 May 2017 @ 6:18pm

        Re: Re: replacement

        Domestic liability per ticketed passenger (not per bag) is $3,500. Per the airline: "Maximum liability is not automatic — damage or loss value must be proven."

        International liability per bag is $640.

        No excess valuation is available.

        And, I quote, the airline "is not liable for loss, damage, or delay of baggage that may result from a security search conducted by any local, state, or federal agency."

        Good luck with your $640 repayment for your laptop/data recovery/your time.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 19 May 2017 @ 2:32am

        Re: Re: replacement

        The idea of backups exist for a reason, and these days with micro SD cards, you can carry several backups on your person, and in your luggage. Online solutions also exist.

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

  • icon
    Berenerd (profile), 18 May 2017 @ 1:10pm

    Ok, so I hand in my laptop, it has something not detected that will go boom (honestly, wiring a laptop to meltdown and have some clothing soaked in a light fluid could pass inspection) and then just punching a button on your cellphone... I don't see what this is saving. If *I* can think of this, I am sure anyone else can be and anyone with enough money is already planning. At what point do we say, "Listen, we fly or we die, I take that risk."

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 May 2017 @ 8:33pm

    Storing laptops in the cargo hold could be even less safe. Who will notice if a laptop develops a fault? If a battery catches fire or explodes? It'd be noticed much sooner in carry-on baggage and dealt with appropriately. This is why unconnected Li-Ion batteries are usually no longer allowed on passenger flights.

    And that's without even going into the inevitable lost/stolen/damaged cargo claims.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 May 2017 @ 4:14pm

    There was a mistake. I fixed it. "All other personal electronic devices will be required to be hacked."

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


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