Airport Security on Laptops

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by ET iPhone Home, May 29, 2017.

  1. ET iPhone Home macrumors 68040

    ET iPhone Home

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    #1
    So I watched this evening a report on banning cell phones and laptops from inbound international flights to the U.S. and that this new rule could possibly affect domestic travel as well.

    The one reason airlines do not like laptops checked into cargo is due to lithium batteries possibly catching on fire.

    With this said, I wonder if computer makers will go back to making laptops where we can replace the batteries ourselves like the good ole' days.
     
  2. QzzB macrumors regular

    QzzB

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    #2
    I doubt it, it is annoying if you couldn't take your laptop on a plane, but I'm guessing there is a low percentage of people this would affect vs the development cost/reconfiguration of the battery and components.
     
  3. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

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    #3
    There are some manufacturers that allow you to replace the battery now, though I do think they're in the minority at this point
     
  4. New_Mac_Smell macrumors 65816

    New_Mac_Smell

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    #4
    I heard they were banning pens after a White House screening of Goldeneye...

    I don't know the solution to this current wave of bans but I do fear these things tend to be permanent. As once a 'risk' is identified it's hard to justify the risk as no longer present. Personally I think they should develop better screening techniques rather than a total ban, as technically you can make any innocuous item dangerous. So when will it end?!

    Anyway I don't think this will make any difference to laptop design, a removable battery would probably pose a greater risk, and in reality they wouldn't distinguish between a laptop with or without a battery present. I dunno, one would hope that manufacturers can work with airport security for better screening or abilities in checking. So I do hope this is only a short term solution.
     
  5. mtneer macrumors 68020

    mtneer

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    #5
    FWIW, they did not push the limits on the risk identified by the underwear bomber.... so there maybe some hope for the longer term.
     
  6. ET iPhone Home thread starter macrumors 68040

    ET iPhone Home

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    #6
    Business travel is the core revenue of airlines. Business travelers, many of which, travel with laptops. Can I add, almost all of us travel with cell phones. How are they going to ban and have travelers check their devices?

    There has to be an efficient and effective way to screen these devices of its integrity.
     
  7. jerryk macrumors 68020

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    #7
    The reason for the banning is because people can replace the batteries with partial explosive. Making the batteries easily removable make this even easier.

    This is why the restriction apply to larger volume batteries, like laptops, tablets, and cameras; but not smaller volume batteries found in phones.

    FWIW I just flew internationally and I did not see too many people with laptops pull them out.

    My biggest issue is I need my laptop when I arrive and do not want to have to check baggage just for the laptop, and risk have it stolen from my checked baggage.
     
  8. Scepticalscribe Contributor

    Scepticalscribe

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    #8
    Is that report fact, speculation, informed rumour, or likely policy?
     
  9. jpcarro macrumors 6502

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    #9
  10. Scepticalscribe Contributor

    Scepticalscribe

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    #10
  11. jerryk macrumors 68020

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    #11
    2 weeks ago they announced that the restrictions between the Europe and the US are dead, for now. However, mechanisms have been put in place to let them turn on the restrictions very quickly.
     
  12. Queen6 macrumors 603

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    #12
    I fly internationally frequently as a factor of my profession, I can assure notebooks remain to be present in large volumes, especially with the business traveller. For myself it's not uncommon to travel with two notebooks, tablet, and multiple phones.

    Saving grace for me, is I don't need to frequently visit the US, if bans come in place I will also look more to lessen further and or find a work around.

    Q-6
     
  13. New_Mac_Smell macrumors 65816

    New_Mac_Smell

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    #13
    Anyone actually found any footage of what an iPad explosive could do? Looking at my iPad it's hard to imagine it would do much beyond a comic blackening of my face (Assuming the device was still indeed functioning alongside an explosive). As a none-US individual it does seem increasingly odd that they would treat an iPad as being just as dangerous as a box of live ammunition. If it's a credible threat then surely a plane full of these would result in the same danger regardless of whether it was above or below deck? Just a curiosity, I dunno this thread is making me paranoid about surveillance now
     
  14. jerryk, May 30, 2017
    Last edited: May 30, 2017

    jerryk macrumors 68020

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    #14

    Here is a video showing what a little more than a pound of C-4 going off looks like. This is about as much as you can get into an iPad with weighs around 2 pounds. I think it will do more than blacken ones face.

    Also, consider the effects of cabin air expansion to the people in the aircraft. "The gases initially expand at about 26,400 feet per second (8,050 meters per second), applying a huge amount of force to everything in the surrounding area. At this expansion rate, it is totally impossible to outrun the explosion like they do in dozens of action movies. To the observer, the explosion is nearly instantaneous -- one second, everything's normal, and the next it's totally destroyed."
    --- Post Merged, May 30, 2017 ---

    No doubt everyone on my flight was carrying one, but as I mentioned, I did not see many out with people actually performing real work. Everyone seem to have an iPad or phone out and was watching the in-flight TV shows and movies, or sending emails or texts, since the plane had wifi.
     
  15. New_Mac_Smell macrumors 65816

    New_Mac_Smell

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    #15
    I get that, but that was 1.5 pounds, going by the heaviest iPad (The original), was 1.5 pounds. http://socialcompare.com/en/comparison/apple-ipad-versions-compared-ipad-air-vs-ipad-mini excluding the larger Pro model. I checked and the battery weighs around 0.3 pounds https://www.ifixit.com/Answers/View/12289/How+much+do+the+individual+iPad+component+weigh.

    I'm only curious as the threat relates to a device that can still power on and be functional. So if you apply a generous amount and say 2/3rds the battery space, it leaves you with 0.2 pounds of explosive (Plus I'm guessing an explosive cap).

    Either way that would probably be enough to blow a hole out the side of the aircraft. The Lockerbie bomber used a Walkman, so a small amount can still do damage. The threat has been there for 30 years, and again this is just a curiosity but I'm wondering what makes the threat more credible today? I don't presume there is an answer to be fair, more of a musing than than anything.
     
  16. Queen6 macrumors 603

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    #16
    Sorry I get your meaning; is true in that respect. Personally don't work on the flight unless something is pressing, even if in the best of seats as it's not the best of environments. I don't mind additional security measures, equally I don't care to be checking my notebooks as due to the data onboard and IMHO the significant increase of damage occurring. Primary reason I travel with tablet is inflight use, as it's simply more manageable.

    Ultimately if it goes this way, as I said, I will need to think on the options. The data is the real value, however needing to deal with a busted notebook on arrival is too much of a headache, replacement being the only realistic option.


    Q-6
     
  17. arbitrage macrumors 6502a

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    #17
    You'd think they could just implement more rigorous security measures like maybe having people power on their laptops and tablets at security. Maybe you could still hide some amount of explosive inside a working laptop or tablet but I don't see it being an easy task. Yes this would slow down security (I mean just watching all the idiots try to fiddle with their phones for their electronic boarding pass is bad enough) BUT I would sacrifice some time at security in order to keep carrying on my laptop, tablet and most importantly DSLRs and lenses. But for now I will just avoid the US like the plague unless absolutely necessary and hope they don't expand these bans.
     
  18. Mobster1983 macrumors 6502a

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    #18
    I am completely against even the thought of this ban. While I rarely use a laptop on a flight, there are plenty of times I use it in the airport while waiting. I usually use my iPad, if not to work then to watch movies. :)

    The even bigger concern for me, as a couple people have mentioned, is theft or damage of the laptop in checked baggage. I NEVER put anything valuable in checked baggage if I can help it.

    Is this a danger? Sure. A very small amount of explosive can be added to a laptop or other device that can easily bring down an airliner (sealed cabin makes even a small explosion dangerous). But there is really only so much we can do, and if someone smart is really intent on bringing down an airliner, they probably will.
     
  19. hallux macrumors 68020

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    #19
    Hit the nail on the head. The airlines even ENCOURAGE you to not check anything of value because of this risk. I can just see the baggage handlers coming home after work with a pile of laptops and tablets for the family. I brought 2 laptops and my tablet on my last trip, I would have needed a bigger suitcase to be able to provide them with the hardware. They KNOW that stuff will be in there if the ban goes in effect.

    I, for one, would not look forward to the day these are banned domestically in the US. I travel, infrequently, for work (at best, 2x a year). I use my tablet to watch cached movies or TV shows, read periodicals, etc. Not having my tablet on the plane would make for a boring flight, and boring layovers when changing flights.
     
  20. jerryk macrumors 68020

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    #20
    I don't believe there are any plans to ban these devices on US domestic travel. It is a concern about people coming in from outside the US.
     
  21. kschendel macrumors 6502a

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    #21
    It's worse than the potential inconvenience, or risk of loss, although that's bad enough. I would refuse to fly in an airplane with a bunch of lithium battery powered laptops in the cargo hold, and that's what these dimwits are suggesting. I'm surprised (and somewhat disappointed) that the various pilot groups have not come out and stated flatly that if they do this, they won't fly. (although I've had some pilot acquaintances tell me that that is the prevailing sentiment.)

    If a laptop battery lights off in the cabin, it's a PITA and probably a divert, but there are procedures in place and nobody is hurt, nothing is damaged beyond the laptop (and maybe a lap!). If one lights off in someone's suitcase, you're looking at extensive smoke property damage at best, and a downed airplane and dead people at worst.
     
  22. hallux macrumors 68020

    hallux

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    #22
  23. TAZ911 macrumors member

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    #23
    Flew domestic this weekend and no issues with electronics. Toss them on the X-ray conveyor and went through security as normal. I'm not all hip on the new banD, but I was under the impression that they applied to international flights originating from places that don't have adequate screening technologies to find the laptop with the C4 or Semtex in the battery. Probably why Europe isn't on the list. Every international airport in Europe that I've flown through has had similar X-rays to the US.

    It's a matter of risk management and legal CYA. What would happen if an airliner was taken down and it was clearly shown that we knew of a threat, understood that it was realistic (aka you can bring a plane down with a Laptop bomb) and chose to ignore it. No matter who was at the helm, you'd have political hay day of XYZ admin ignores confirmed threat to public safety. Corporate greed allowed to supersede safety... Not to mention the law suits from relatives of folks blown to bits.

    The issue isn't one of technology for the first world. It's a matter of that technology being implemented in say Batswana who does have the $$ to buy multi million dollar pieces of hardware.

    Choices are simple: 1. place the devices in cargo hold and insure that all luggage from places with no true ability to screen luggage is screened during transfers and done so without interference to the public. 2. Force all folks to exit security and re-enter the secured areas so all carry on luggage is screened during transfers. This would be a logistical nightmare and would result in a LOT of missed connections.

    So what's a better solution the issue?
     
  24. ZapNZs macrumors 68000

    ZapNZs

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    #24
    It is sad that people often need to die before something changes at a systematic level across several industries/organizations - and even then, it may take several tragedies before knee-jerk/short-sighted reactions are replaced by holistic change.

    Like it or not, lithium batteries are going to be a major part of our future for a long time. Heck, new planes themselves use lithium cells. If legislation is going to move to relocate these batteries to cargo holds (where they cannot be as easily monitored, temp-controlled, and where they may be stored closer to potential sources of fuel), existing fire suppression systems may be insufficient to prevent a crisis from becoming a tragedy.
     
  25. kschendel macrumors 6502a

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    #25
    Neither choice is correct. Your #1 will kill people eventually when a battery fire downs an aircraft. You might be interested in dying in the name of "safety" but I'm not. Besides, what on earth makes people think that a bomb is better in the cargo area than in the cabin? Madness. As for #2, if you didn't screen them properly in the first place, re-screening isn't going to help. I don't subscribe to the notion that somehow US screeners catch more than anyone else, that's nonsense.

    The correct choice is to educate people that guess what, you are no more dead if you die on an airplane than if you die elsewhere, and total safety is impossible. Until more people accept that idea we are going to continue to waste many billions of dollars, and irretrievable hours of people's lives, on security theater that is entirely useless except to cover some bureaucrat's butt.

    As for liability and risk management, the chances of property or life damage from a laptop battery fire that can't be handled because it's in the hold, are far, far higher than the chances of one plane being blown up by some terrorists. In fact, the laptop-in-the-hold idea is much riskier; I can't imagine that it's hard to jimmy a battery so that it has a good chance of catching fire, and you don't even have to get into mystical, undetectable explosives to cost airlines and insurers (and passengers) zillions.
     

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