U.S. Could Expand Tablet and Laptop Ban to All International Flights

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by MacRumors, May 29, 2017.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    The U.S. Department of Homeland Security is considering expanding its carry-on restrictions for electronic devices to include flights departing from the United States, according to CNN.

    In March, restrictions were announced that prevented U.S.-bound passengers from eight Middle Eastern countries from carrying certain electronic devices in the passenger cabin. The TSA order, which does not have a stated end date, covers laptops, tablets, e-readers, cameras, portable DVD players, and handheld gaming devices larger than a smartphone.

    However, those restrictions could also soon include flights departing from the United States, according to Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, who spoke briefly to reporters on Friday.
    As with the original ban, the U.S. officials declined to comment on any new or specific threats, but implied that the decision had been made on evaluated intelligence.

    The original ban applies to Jordan, Qatar, Kuwait, Morocco, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey. The nine airlines impacted by that order are Royal Jordanian, EgyptAir, Turkish Airlines, Saudia, Kuwait Airways, Royal Air Maroc, Qatar Airways, Emirates and Ethiad Airways. The United Kingdom issued a similar ban covering flights from six countries shortly after the U.S. announcement.

    Last week, Politico reported that U.S. airlines are making preparations for an "imminent" expansion of the ban to Europe and possibly other regions.

    Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.

    Article Link: U.S. Could Expand Tablet and Laptop Ban to All International Flights
  2. cube, May 29, 2017
    Last edited: May 29, 2017

    cube macrumors P6

    May 10, 2004
    It would be a mess to launch an immediate ban if it doesn't give time to airports to assign a separate terminal area for the US.

    I guess some will prefer to stop direct flights to USA. Nice way to to force withdrawal of Open Skies.

    Anyway, the EU-US agreement is biased in favor of the USA. Unequal terms should have never been accepted.

    Maybe there's a clause in it to allow an airport to suspend such flights as there's no security infrastructure in place to support them.

    In any case, the US dictating how other countries travel between them would be unacceptable.
  3. itsmilo macrumors 68020


    Sep 15, 2016
    Who is going to pay for stolen or broken gadgets and didnt they say that those devices should be in a carry on because of the danger of batteries malfunctioning in the storage in the past?

    USA is getting less and less attractive to travel to as a tourist tbh
    i am already avoiding the US as a stop over since you guys have no transit zone and it is such a hassle to get through TSA. No thank you
  4. MH01 Suspended


    Feb 11, 2008
    The clear problem is people, ban those on flights and we are safe.

    Time for some smartarse getting explosices into material, we can fly nude without bringing anything on board.
  5. elie.fares macrumors regular

    Sep 13, 2008
    There was also "rumors" about the ban expanding to flights coming in from Europe and that didn't happen as well. However, at the rate we're going, the U.S. is quickly becoming the land of the fear and the home of the paranoid.
  6. cube macrumors P6

    May 10, 2004
  7. Scepticalscribe, May 29, 2017
    Last edited: May 29, 2017

    Scepticalscribe macrumors Westmere


    Jul 29, 2008
    The Far Horizon
    Frankly, the US should be afraid of itself.

    A country where the Second Amendment is engraved or tattooed on people's bodies, hearts, souls and minds - and thinks that background checks on some of the individuals who seek to purchase weapons that kill are an invasion of civil liberties - has problems with e-readers, tablets and computers on planes?
  8. smallcoffee macrumors 68000

    Oct 15, 2014
    North America
    Could you elaborate?
    --- Post Merged, May 29, 2017 ---
    I hate the TSA. I loathe the TSA. I think it is largely a charade and only exists to check for things like drugs and to make sure you don't bring obviously crazy things on an airplane.

    But with that being said, I don't think the Department of Homeland Security is about to ban laptops for no good reason or that it is a permanent ban (if it does take place). I assume that they have some intelligence indicating that laptops are a threat. So how do you make that decision? What if a plane gets blown up? Will we all be sitting here criticizing the incompetence of the DHS and TSA?

    I'm not sure we are getting the full picture here. I'm a little apprehensive about being angry about this move.
  9. decafjava macrumors 68040


    Feb 7, 2011
    What if a lithium battery catches fire in the luggage hold? Ban laptops altogether? Why not just ban commercial flight except for Air Force One and the other official flights?
  10. smallcoffee macrumors 68000

    Oct 15, 2014
    North America
    Yup I've already heard this and the reason comes down to risk. The likelihood of a laptop battery randomly catching fire is probably extremely low, whereas somebody detonating a laptop bomb in the cabin is high enough that a ban is being considered. You're not going to hear any argument from me about how inconvenient and annoying this seems, but I'm advocating that before we collectively flip out we should try and understand why this is being seriously considered.
  11. itsamacthing macrumors 6502a

    Sep 26, 2011
    They (TSA, FAA, etc) are trying to keep us safe, I support them all the way. It's unfortunate for our current challenges that our airports were designed during a more simple time of meeting friends at the gate and arriving just before your flights. Our airports needs to be redesigned and then people won't think so lowly of the TSA.
  12. WRChris, May 29, 2017
    Last edited: May 29, 2017

    WRChris macrumors 6502a


    Aug 17, 2016
    Well I sure hope the Koreans are happy they potentially ruined flights for us. Thanks scamsung.

    On a serious note(no pun intended), if there is a legitimate threat, then issue a temporary ban. Not the end of the world, just be honest about the threat and people will understand.

    I guess if we see a middle eastern person on a flight with an iPad or MacBook we can all scream terrorist for this now.
  13. You are the One macrumors 6502a

    You are the One

    Dec 25, 2014
    In the present
    Yes, this makes no practical sense. It only makes sense if the purpose of the US version of Stasi is to reduce ordinary people to cattle by treating them like cattle. If you object in any way, you are stamped as nazi and a threat to National Security (which actually means nothing more than the security of the oppression apparatus falsely named Government)

  14. 69Mustang macrumors 604


    Jan 7, 2014
    In between a rock and a hard place
    Not arguing your political position, just questioning your math here. The shear numbers don't support your assertion. Despite the media hysteria, an airline being attacked by a bomb is a very rare occurrence.
  15. smallcoffee macrumors 68000

    Oct 15, 2014
    North America
    I don't have a political position here other than, let's just take a breath and not freak out.

    I agree that an airline attack is indeed an incredibly rare occurrence. A lithium-ion battery randomly catching fire a rare one as well. That brings us to the possible (I hope temporary) ban. Why? I think that it is likely that the threat of an attack from a laptop device is sufficiently high enough that the DHS is considering a ban. I.e. It is more likely than either of the two previous possibilities incidents.
  16. cube macrumors P6

    May 10, 2004
    To simplify:

    - if there are 200 tablets and laptops in the plane, multiply the probability of one igniting by 200.
    - If there are 1000 planes, multiply the probability of one catching fire by 1000.

    How many flights until one goes down?
  17. JGRE macrumors 65816


    Oct 10, 2011
    Dutch Mountains
    What if, what if, what if.
    There was the shoe bomber: so ban all shoes, because what if....
    There was the underwear bomber, so ban all underwear, because what if....
    What if the US has lost it? Should we ban the US...?
  18. Arran macrumors 601


    Mar 7, 2008
    Atlanta, USA
    Laptops in checked baggage? Wow. Have you ever watched baggage handlers?

    The silver lining in this cloud is that this'll be a great way for business travelers to get issued with a replacement laptop! Regularly. ;)
  19. jonnysods macrumors 603


    Sep 20, 2006
    There & Back Again
    Well, I'm going to avoid US flights at all costs! Good thing I live near the border and can drive.
  20. satchmo macrumors 68020

    Aug 6, 2008
    Even if allowed, I'd think twice before bringing my iPhone let alone my MBP through TSA.

    I have nothing to hide, but going through and forcing you to unlock your personal devices without reason or a warrant, is wrong.
  21. nia820 macrumors 68020


    Jun 27, 2011
    I could understand banning laptops, but tablets? Manufacturers can barely put a decent battery in one and people are worried about a bomb? Even if you can fit a bomb, how much damage would it really do. Tablets are very thin.
  22. Scepticalscribe macrumors Westmere


    Jul 29, 2008
    The Far Horizon
    I see what you are saying but beg to differ, as I think the "full picture" is a lot more nuanced.

    My sense about the original ban (directed at a number of airlines) is that it was chiefly intended as a means of giving surreptitious state support to the US airline industry by citing security rather than commercial reasons.

    That is not to say that security concerns don't exist: Clearly, they do, but given the small numbers of bombs in airlines to date, on the one hand, and the massive inconvenience this is bound to give rise to on the other, I am not so sure that indulging in this paranoia can be entirely justified.

    Obviously, other steps can also be taken: These might include asking - or inviting - tech firms to investigate how computers and tablets can be best turned into bombs (and how best to identify, address, deal with, and defuse this) might be one approach; another, would be better - not more thuggish, simply better and more focussed - security checks at airports.

    But, at this stage, I would argue that a laptop ban - and a tablet ban - would be an excessive reaction to the possible threat posed by someone possibly carrying a laptop onto a flight.
  23. simonmet, May 29, 2017
    Last edited: May 29, 2017

    simonmet macrumors 68020


    Sep 9, 2012
    This. Except it's not less attractive but not attractive at all as of about five years ago. American TSA and border security have a terrible reputation. I can't speak from personal experience, only the many, many second-hand reports I've read and heard like the one I outline below. As such I too have decided to avoid the US, which isn't so bad because it's not like there aren't plenty of other places in the world I'd prefer to visit anyway.

    It was widely reported here that legendary Australian children's author Mem Fox, 70, had been held and interrogated by TSA/customs/border security for several hours including being held in secured rooms with other detainees with heavily armed officers as if she was arrested. She'd done nothing wrong and said it was such a frightening and traumatising experience she broke down sobbing upon release and arrival at her hotel.




    Mem Fox had previously visited the US about 70 times but vowed it would be her last. There were comments along the lines of "If this is what they do to a 70 year-old white Australian woman imagine what they do to someone from one of the "Muslim" countries with poor English".

    She received apologies from the US embassy after it became national news in Australia. But if it wasn't for her fame and national reporting of the incident would she have? How many others have had the same or similar experiences but we never hear about them because they're not famous?

    The best I've ever heard about TSA is that if you're lucky they let you through in an unfriendly manner with a minimal interrogation. I've heard it's possible (even likely) to get a smile and "welcome" from officers in Canada.
  24. Foxglove9 macrumors 68000


    Jan 14, 2006
    New York City
    It already started. I just flew from Florida to NY about a week ago and the TSA made everyone take out iPads from their luggage and put them through the scanner separately.
  25. smallcoffee macrumors 68000

    Oct 15, 2014
    North America
    My only question is how does a laptop ban help the airlines? I could see this for sure with respect to the first ban of 8 countries, but I'm not sure about domestic international flights. Won't this just cause flights to avoid the US entirely? Why would people use American airline carriers then? Thoughts?

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