The US has declared that it will not allow mobile phones – especially iPhones and Samsung’s Galaxy – onto US bound planes from some airports in Europe, the Middle East and Africa if the devices are not charged, reports Daily Mail.
This new measure comes in the wake of intelligence that suggests some Islamist extremists are planning to blow up and airliner and the TSA hope this will help in strengthening airport security.
Transport officials said in a statement that passengers could be asked to switch on devices, and equipment that does not power up would not be allowed on board, reports BBC.
It has been said that the US officials are concerned that a cell phone, tablet, laptop or other electronic device could be used as a bomb by Yemen-based al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and the Islamist Nusra Front, al Qaeda’s affiliate in Syria, according to the Daily Mail.
US’s Transportation Security Administration (TSA) announced this a few days after Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson in a public statement warned that he had instructed the TSA to “implement enhanced security measures in the coming days at certain overseas airports with direct flights to the United States”. This follows intelligence reports that suggest terrorists have been developing/have developed bombs that can go undetected at security and do not contain metal according to Wired UK site.
There are reports that have confirmed smart phones, particularly iPhones and Samsung’s Galaxy Android phones, will be singled out and inspected, on US-bound direct flights from Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
Although the TSA hasn’t disclosed which airports are facing these new stringent security measures, but there have been reports of passengers at British airports travelling to the US facing extra checks on phones.
In a written statement, The TSA said: “As the travelling public knows all electronic devices are screened by security officers.”During the security examination, officers may also ask that owners power up some devices, including cell phones.
“Powerless devices will not be permitted onboard the aircraft. The traveller may also undergo additional screening,” reported the ibitimes.co.uk.
A US official has further said that other electronic devices like laptops, tablets and e-book readers are also likely to face extra scrutiny and also be asked to power up these devices to prove that they don’t carry any sort of threat.
Airlines or airport operators that fail to strengthen security could face bans on flights entering the United States, the officials said, reports the Daily Mail. The UK, France and Germany have all said they would comply with the American demands, says the BBC. But the authorities have declined to comment on how long these security measures will be carried on and how many airports will be expected to implement the same. But this news has definitely caused chaos amongst passengers flying to and from the US.
The Daily Mail quotes US Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson as saying, “We will work to ensure these necessary steps pose as few disruptions to travellers as possible.”
There’s no sign that the extra measures on electronics will be the only enhancement, it seems to just be the one that has been announced first. There are also as yet no details on exactly which flights will have to undergo these measures reported Wired.co.uk.