Richi Jennings

In newest security scare, TSA makes U.S. bound travelers turn on devices before boarding

July 07, 2014 6:07 AM EDT


TSA: A pre-flight show before the in-flight movie.

Take shoes off and put in tray -- check. Frisking and/or random harassment -- check. Adding to an ever-growing list of obstacles, clumsy indignities, and degradation, the U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has decided to help weary travelers by tacking on another needless security check. This time it's only for certain U.S. bound flights: Electronic devices must be charged and working before boarding (or the traveler gets the hose again).

Latest in a biannual string of let-terrorists-know-our-procedures-and-justify-our-existence security scare announcements, the TSA not only thinks dead electronics suck -- only evil-doers let their batteries run down. Because the last thing the TSA wants to happen is a scenario in which modified, easily-spoofed, programmable GPS-enabled explosive devices lose power and malfunction mid-flight.

In IT Blogwatch, bloggers purchase hand-powered chargers.

Filling in for our humble blogwatcher Richi Jennings, is a humbler Stephen Glasskeys.

 
John Ribeiro puts his shoes in a tray:

The [TSA] has said it may ask air travelers headed to the U.S. on direct flights to power up some electronic devices, including cell phones, as part of enhanced security measures at certain airports abroad.
...
Under the regulations announced Sunday, powerless devices will not be permitted on board the aircraft and the traveler may also undergo additional screening.   MORE


 
And Simon Sharwood needs to borrow a charger:

The tests won't be take place at every airport. Instead, "... certain overseas airports with direct flights to the United States" will conduct the checks.
...
The TSA hasn't revealed which airports will conduct the checks, but the BBC reports London's Heathrow is on the list.  MORE


 
Straight from agent rent-a-horse's mouth:

Last week, Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson directed TSA to implement enhanced security measures at certain overseas airports with direct flights to the United States.
...
As the traveling public knows, all electronic devices are screened by security officers. During the security examination, officers may also ask that owners power up some devices, including cell phones. Powerless devices will not be permitted onboard the aircraft. The traveler may also undergo additional screening.   MORE


 
Kaylene Hong explains the reality of air travel:

It isn't clear why mobile devices that can't be turned on are being targeted...the AP reports that US intelligence officials [are] wary about efforts to create a bomb that could go undetected through airport security. All we know is that this latest move introduces yet another layer of inconvenience in the whole pre- flight process, which is already painful enough as it is.  MORE


 
Jon Fingas points towards signs of things to come:

The TSA says it will "continue to adjust" procedures to balance convenience and security, so there's a chance that these device checks will go away. Don't count on it any time soon, however. It took years for the TSA to remove its all-too-revealing body scanners, and there's no signs that the administration is eager to rescind its latest rules.  MORE


 
Then Christopher Soghoian makes a point worth remembering:

TSA asking passengers to turn on phones. Remember, they can't force you to enter your PIN/password or login.  MORE


 
Meanwhile, Tom Gara rubs salt in a wound:

As if the terrible battery performance of modern smartphones isn't humiliation enough, now the TSA salts the wound.  MORE


 

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