What You Need to Know About the T.S.A.’s Latest Regulation
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Just when you thought traveling by plane couldn’t get any more difficult, the Transportation Security Agency has issued new regulations for carry-on baggage. Passengers are now prohibited from carrying phones, tablets or other devices that do not turn on. According to the Department of Homeland Security, terrorists have been using such devices to conceal explosives which are then used to assemble a bomb on board. As a result, passengers will have to remove any devices from their bags at a security checkpoint and prove that they work. If they cannot get the device to respond after powering it on or plugging it in, the T.S.A. will confiscate it.
Although this may seem extreme, recent reports by the Department of Homeland Security suggest terrorists really can conceal parts of a bomb in a device as small as a phone. The alternation is virtually undetectable on the outside, as terrorists will use an external trigger to activate the bomb. Unfortunately for Americans and other target nations around the world, terrorists are getting smarter, and the United States needs to take further precautions to keep our country safe. Here are some details about the latest T.S.A. regulation and how it will affect you
How Do Phones Make Bombs?
To many of us, the idea of a phone bomb may seem a little surprising. To assemble an undetectable explosive device in something so small sounds difficult, if not impossible. However, a Yemen man named Ibrahim Hassan al-Asiri has been training fanatics to do just that. Al-Asiri, the inventor of the “phone bomb” and a member of the Al-Qaeda affiliate in Yemen, has been preparing trainees to take his place if he is killed or captured.
According to the New York Times, a group of Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula was recently caught trying to use such explosives concealed in phones. This represents the latest attempt by the terrorists to bring down an American plane. Previous attempts, such as one by a Nigerian Al-Qaeda bomb maker to detonate a bomb from his underwear, fortunately had not succeeded. A bomb disguised in a phone, however, could be particularly dangerous. Cell phones are so ubiquitous in our society, that no one would be suspicious of a person for carrying one. This is why the T.S.A. is taking precautions and confiscating any phone or similar device that doesn’t turn on and function as it should.
What Travelers Can Expect
The T.S.A. has not yet specified exactly which airports will be affected, though the Department of Homeland Security has asked at least 12 foreign airports to begin confiscating non-functional devices. As you might have expected, this will likely result in longer wait times and security lines. Nearly everyone who boards a plane uses an electronic device of some kind, so it could take hours for T.S.A. personnel to check each and every item.
It’s not as if passengers could just leave these devices at home either. In our increasingly connected society, many people need portable electronics for their jobs when they travel. If you’re expected to order sanding supplies for your contracting clients, it’s much more convenient to just do your job via your mobile device rather than appointing someone else to run your position when you’re out of the office. When you’re on the road public phones and computers are by no means guaranteed, making personal devices a necessity for many.
What do you think of the T.S.A.’s latest security check? Will this impact how you travel and what devices you bring with you?
Image by Cliff