U.S. mulling expansion of laptop flight ban to Europe

Jay Anderson
May 20, 2017

An intelligence official, who, like the airline official, was not authorized to speak publicly about the potential ban, said it was being considered because of concerns that radicalized citizens of European Union nations or people with dual citizenship could target USA -bound flights. But Homeland Security officials met Thursday with high-ranking executives of the three leading US airlines - American, Delta and United - and the industry's leading USA trade group, Airlines for America, to discuss expanding the laptop policy to flights arriving from Europe.

Privately, airlines are expressing concern about an expanded ban and have encouraged DHS to consider exploring other security measures like Explosive Trace Detection-swabbing all carry-on electronics or deploying CT scanners for carry-on bags.

The move would extend a March ban put into place by the USA on direct flights into the countries from airports in 10 Middle Eastern nations.

The DHS, however, is said to be mulling over expanding that laptop ban to include still unnamed European countries.

A spokesman for the European Commission said that "the United States and the European Union have a long-standing and fruitful cooperation on security" and the commission had approached the USA "to continue to pursue that cooperation".

Preventing passengers from bringing large electronics into the cabin - a plan under consideration in Washington - could disrupt the global aviation industry and slam US tourism.

United States and European officials said they expect the DHS to announce the ban as soon as Thursday. Britain has imposed a laptops ban of its own affecting direct flights from six states.

"No finals decisions have been made on expanding the restriction on large electronic devices in aircraft cabins", the Washington Post quoted Department of Homeland Security spokesman David Lapan, as saying.

But Homeland Security officials met Thursday with high-ranking executives of the three leading US airlines - American, Delta and United - and the industry's leading USA trade group, Airlines for America, to discuss expanding the laptop policy to flights arriving from Europe.

Cyber-attack: Europol says it was unprecedented in scale
However, a hacker could rewrite the code to omit the kill switch and start trying to infect new machines with a new version of it. Instead, the simple update that could have prevented the attack left them vulnerable to security breaches.

Indeed, the U.S. department of homeland security could make an announcement to the effect as well. They spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the meeting publicly.

Dutch Airline KLM says it is "closely monitoring developments and will make adjustments when necessary".

A ban on electronic items larger than a regular-sized smartphone would play havoc with travelers' plans, especially business travelers looking to stay productive whilst in the air.

The affected airports are in Turkey, North Africa and the Middle East.

The UK also has an electronics travel ban in place. Three of these fires were caused by laptops and two by tablets.

Homeland Security said in a statement Wednesday that the restriction was under consideration.

"It's not like losing your water bottle or your scissors". "After a week of quite big difficulties, 95 percent of people will understand the practicalities". Under the new administration, arrivals to the US are forecast to drop slightly to 84.2 million for the period.

Staff then pack and check electronics at the gate, under procedures introduced by several airlines, making the devices less vulnerable to being stolen from standard checked baggage.

Other reports by BadHub

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