New Rules For Devices: TSA Wants To Ensure Your Smartphone Isn’t Explosive

Aric Mitchell - Author

Jul. 6 2014, Updated 5:58 p.m. ET

New rules for devices are coming to your next flight as TSA (or the Transportation Security Administration) will place greater scrutiny on your smartphones.

CNN reveals that the agency is opting for a “power it up, or leave it behind” rule.

From the report:

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… officers may ask passengers en route to the United States from overseas to turn on their electronic devices to prove they work and aren’t explosive devices. They won’t allow devices without power on board planes. The traveler may then undergo additional screening.

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This part of a bigger update to security measures is aimed at cutting off potential new threats from Middle Eastern and European terrorists, the news site noted.

“Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson directed the TSA last week to enhance security at overseas airports that have direct flights to the United States,” added reporter Greg Clary. “The specifics of the enhanced measures weren’t originally released, and it isn’t known what other measures the TSA may employ.”

“Our job is to… try to anticipate the next attack, not simply react to the last one. And so we continually evaluate the world situation, and we know that there remains a terrorist threat to the United States, and aviation security is a large part of that,” Johnson said in comments to NBC’s “Meet The Press.”

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“This is not something to overreact to or over-speculate about,” he said.

Last week, a homeland security official said that the changes “would primarily focus on airports in Europe and the Middle East” and that the new rules for devices do not “involve changes to what travelers can take aboard flights.” However, passengers could see additional inspections of shoes and electronics, additional use of scanners designed to detect trace amounts of explosives, and another stage of screening at boarding gates, in some cases, the official said.

Sir Malcolm Rifkind, chairman of Great Britain’s Intelligence and Security Committee, endorsed the changes in comments to ITV:

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I have no doubt, from what I have learnt, that these new steps are not bureaucratic nor an overreaction.

Sadly, they are unavoidable.

It is simply foolish to believe that the threat is either minimal or now behind us.

We have, indeed, been fortunate but, sadly, this has not been because the terrorists have, since 2005, given up trying to do us harm.

As Andrew Parker, the head of MI5, has made clear, each year there have been serious plots which if they had not been identified and disrupted would have led to the deaths and mutilation of many British citizens.

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Do you agree with these new rules for devices? Share your thoughts in our comments section.


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