What the Laptop Ban Expansion Means

May 22, 2017, 00:26

In March, Washington banned passengers from eight countries in North Africa and the Middle East from bringing laptop computers, tablets and other electronic devices larger than cellphones as carry-on items.

The Department of Homeland Security is working to expand an electronics ban for airline passengers entering the United States from European countries.

"No final decisions have been made on expanding the restriction on large electronic devices in aircraft cabins; however, it is under consideration", the Department of Homeland Security told the Daily Beast website last week.

IATA needs to be told more about USA concerns in order to contribute to developing a solution, de Juniac said, adding: "We can provide appropriate advice when it comes to security and protection measures for passengers".

It emerged from reports in the U.S. earlier this week that Al Qaeda in Yemen had figured out how to produce explosives so thin that they could be concealed in the inside of a laptop, making their detection very hard.

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The ban has been defended by the administration as a precaution against terrorist attacks.

The European Union has demanded urgent talks with the United States over a possible extension to some European countries of a USA ban on airline passengers taking laptops into cabins, saying any security threats faced are common.

At a four-hour meeting in Brussels, the USA agreed not to impose a blanket ban.

The ban was rejected at the talks, but according to a joint statement the U.S. and European Union "reaffirmed their commitment to continue working closely together on aviation security".

U.S. Travel Association, according to CNN Money, states a lot of European travelers spend somewhere between $3,000 to $4,000 when they come to the states.

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While the proposed ban is still in the proposal stage, it could go into effect at any time. "We don't know the basis of the intelligence that would justify this measure".

The "high level" meeting had been requested by European Union officials because of concerns that information about a possible security threat had not been shared with Brussels, and that major travel disruption would ensue should America act unilaterally.

There is also the question of the relative safety of keeping in the cargo area a large number of electronics with lithium batteries, which have been known to catch fire.

The flip side of all of this is whether a laptop ban serves a greater objective.

According to some experts, a bomb in the cabin would be easier to make compared in the cargo. And "the Trump administration is considering extending a ban on laptops in aircraft cabins to all flights to the USA from anywhere in the world", with no exceptions for Europe, the Financial Times reported on 18 May.

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"Businesses will cancel trips rather than risk having laptops checked due to risk of confidential information", IATA chief executive officer Alexandre de Juniac said in a letter to U.S. Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly and his European counterpart Violeta Bulc.

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