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TSA Prohibits Taking Discharged Electronic Devices Onto Planes

samzenpus posted about 4 months ago | from the keeping-something-safe dept.

Transportation 702

Trachman writes The US Transport Security Administration revealed on Sunday that enhanced security procedures on flights coming to the US now include not allowing uncharged cell phones and other devices onto planes. “During the security examination, officers may also ask that owners power up some devices, including cell phones. Powerless devices will not be permitted on board the aircraft. The traveler may also undergo additional screening,” TSA said in a statement.

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Christmas is coming early this year (5, Funny)

qbast (1265706) | about 4 months ago | (#47398381)

All those free phones, tablets, laptops, etc. - it is great to be working for TSA!

Re:Christmas is coming early this year (2)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 4 months ago | (#47398601)

Apropos of this; (but absurdly NSFW, so cube drones who aren't also the IT guy who controls the local censorship appliance watch with caution) TSA Gangstaz [youtube.com] !

Takin' Suckaz Assets.

Incoming international flights (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47398383)

This was specifically for international flights into the US originating from certain countries, not a TSA-wide procedure.

Re:Incoming international flights (2)

Mr D from 63 (3395377) | about 4 months ago | (#47398399)

So, don't lug non-working electronics around with you when you travel. And hope your battery doesn't die while traveling.

Re:Incoming international flights (4, Funny)

bickerdyke (670000) | about 4 months ago | (#47398509)

Or do so if you want to save on disposal fees....

Re: Incoming international flights (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47398735)

Uncharged/out of service Li-ion batteries are subject to more problems at altitude than properly charged ones. They are like mini-bombs

Re:Incoming international flights (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47398453)

Slashdotters don't let facts get in the way of a scary headline... ;)

Actually makes good sense (4, Insightful)

Crashmarik (635988) | about 4 months ago | (#47398391)

If you can't power the things up there is no way to tell what they actually are.

Re:Actually makes good sense (5, Insightful)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 4 months ago | (#47398401)

If you can't power the things up there is no way to tell what they actually are.

If the TSA worked for us, they'd have a power supply at the checkpoint so you can prove that your device works even if the battery is dead.

Re:Actually makes good sense (1)

Mr D from 63 (3395377) | about 4 months ago | (#47398437)

Or maybe just throw away the battery if its dead. A scan should reveal any further threat.

Re:Actually makes good sense (5, Insightful)

TheCarp (96830) | about 4 months ago | (#47398495)

Right because having your fucking phone die at the airport isn't inconvenient enough; you clearly are not having a bad enough day that you can't easily call people when you reach your destination, or get notices about flight delays on your way to the airport....no.... you need to lose your battery too! Another $50 on your trip asshole for doing something boneheaded that only ever was a problem for you before now.

Certainly there are so vanishingly few legitimate reasons a persons phone would be discharged.... that there wont be too many false positives with this....never. I am sure they will mostly only inconvinence terrorists, and not, so many people as to justify maybe....a full time position or two at each airport.

Re:Actually makes good sense (4, Insightful)

bickerdyke (670000) | about 4 months ago | (#47398623)

50$? Wait.. you're assuming that you can remove the battery from your phone, right?

That's a good one.

REALLY inconvinient if you have an iPhone....

Re:Actually makes good sense (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 4 months ago | (#47398633)

Oh, don't worry, citizen! If you own a phone that still has a swappable battery, it's probably ancient junk anyway, so throwing it away is just helping you out!

Now... about keeping your AppleCare after the TSA's tech experts remove your iPhone battery...

Re:Actually makes good sense (5, Insightful)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | about 4 months ago | (#47398671)

Certainly there are so vanishingly few legitimate reasons a persons phone would be discharged...

Certainly there are far fewer reasons a person would want to go to the USA anymore. Or, rather, people value their dignity more than US culture; That you continue to have a tourism industry is beyond belief. Further, with Germany setting the standard for tearing US businesses out of their public infrastructure [theregister.co.uk] I'd be surprised if the US continues be a player in international business for much longer.

Anyway, to answer your question about why my phone would be discharged, it's because I'm forced to wait for three hours in the damn departure lounge because getting through security takes an age. I pass the time by browsing the internet, listening to music, watching streaming video... On my phone.

Re:Actually makes good sense (4, Funny)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | about 4 months ago | (#47398695)

My snark detector needs retuning.

Re:Actually makes good sense (1)

tlund (42064) | about 4 months ago | (#47398697)

you need to lose your battery too!

I don't get it. It says "Powerless devices will not be permitted onboard the aircraft." Where does it say they will confiscate your battery?

Re:Actually makes good sense (4, Insightful)

jeIIomizer (3670945) | about 4 months ago | (#47398487)

The TSA cannot work for us, because their existence violates the highest law of the land. Slightly 'improving' the situation would never change that simple fact.

Re:Actually makes good sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47398593)

^ This.

ALL POWERS, you fucking dimwitted fucks*.

The Constitution is not a living document. It's not open to interpretation. The vast majority of the bullshit the Federal government is throwing upon is isn't the slightest bit legal.

You want education? You want molestation at airports?

Fucking pass an Amendment about it.

(* Harsh language included because said dimwitted fucks are dimwitted, and clearly haven't responded to the polite arguments.)

Re:Actually makes good sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47398683)

>The Constitution is not a living document. It's not open to interpretation.

Changing times and ambiguities in the original text say otherwise.

Even in the case where we're explicitly saying "this is a dead document, follow it literally", the meanings of words change over time and the original meaning imparted by the text is lost.

Re:Actually makes good sense (2)

jeIIomizer (3670945) | about 4 months ago | (#47398703)

Changing times and ambiguities in the original text say otherwise.

Then consult historical documents. It's a living document only in the sense that it can be amended.

Even in the case where we're explicitly saying "this is a dead document, follow it literally", the meanings of words change over time and the original meaning imparted by the text is lost.

Only true if the government intentionally ignores history.

Re:Actually makes good sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47398691)

Removing them is the only improving that can be done.
I'll drive when possible - cheaper anyways.

Re:Actually makes good sense (1)

bickerdyke (670000) | about 4 months ago | (#47398517)

This would not prove that the battery has not been replaced with explosives.

Re:Actually makes good sense (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about 4 months ago | (#47398669)

You really don't have to [wired.com]

Re:Actually makes good sense (5, Interesting)

qbast (1265706) | about 4 months ago | (#47398407)

And if I can power my laptop up (for 5 minutes should be good enough), how can they tell that 90% of battery is not packed with explosives?

Re: Actually makes good sense (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47398443)

Because a discontinuty in the battery would be easy to see on the xray.

Re: Actually makes good sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47398485)

If it shows up on x-ray, then what's the point of the ban?

Re: Actually makes good sense (4, Interesting)

bickerdyke (670000) | about 4 months ago | (#47398531)

a discontinuity would be obvious on the x-ray, if a part of the battery would have been replaced with other material then the rest of the battery.

I once had to unpack my hand luggage because I mixed two different brands of batteries in a spare battery container. When the different brand label matched the different x-ray signatures, it was no further problem.

Re: Actually makes good sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47398551)

Because it might not show up on X-ray if the entire battery had been replaced with explosives.

Re: Actually makes good sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47398493)

So why force people to power their devices up?

Re: Actually makes good sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47398539)

Li-Ion batteries have metal casing around them.

Re: Actually makes good sense (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 4 months ago | (#47398647)

Li-Poly often doesn't (one of the major perks is being able to use 'pouch' style designs with limited packaging overhead or rigid shape constraints); but that just means that Joe Jihad faces the (trivial) challenge of finding a device that still uses classic row-o'-metal-cylinders Li-ion packs.

Re:Actually makes good sense (1)

alexander_686 (957440) | about 4 months ago | (#47398535)

Becuase the idea is to knock the low hanging fruit from the tree. Anybody who really wanted to blow up a airplane could. Thankfully it has been mostly half crazy idots who have been trying to do this. Plese note I don't know if I support the policy. I can understand where it is comming from but one has to balance out safty, privicy, and convience. I think the balance has already slid to far to the saty side.

Re:Actually makes good sense (2)

Immerman (2627577) | about 4 months ago | (#47398687)

Which strongly suggests the existence of the TSA is pointless. As you say, and the professionals all agree - anyone competent who wants to blow up a plane will be able to do so unless stopped long before they get to the airport (and the NSA claims hey really truly have done so, but you'll have to trust us on that because we can't reveal the evidence). Meanwhile the TSA can't even catch the loonies who try to blow up their shoes and underwear - those have all been stopped by their own incompetence and/or other passengers. So the TSA is accomplishing what exactly?

Re: Actually makes good sense (5, Interesting)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about 4 months ago | (#47398641)

Because nobody could ever hook up an ARM SBC to the LVDS connector on a 17" laptop and play a video to fake a boot sequence that would fool a telemarketer in purple gloves, leaving the rest of the case available for whatever can be molded into plastic.

Because TSA is there to protect us from imbicilic terrorists, even though 9/11 was orchestrated by degreed engineers, physicians, etc.?

Or just maybe it's not about terrorists but rather obedience conditioning, and they need a new rule once in a while to keep the people regressing (from presumption of Constitutional rights).

Only one of those hypotheses fits the data.

Re:Actually makes good sense (1)

Mr D from 63 (3395377) | about 4 months ago | (#47398409)

Yeah, but if we all have to pull out and power up a tablet, computer, MP3 player, and phone, that's gonna slow down the line a bit.

Re:Actually makes good sense (1)

qbast (1265706) | about 4 months ago | (#47398525)

Well, it is your problem if you miss the flight, not theirs. And don't act as if you are in great hurry, they might take you for more in-depth check just for the hell of it.

Re:Actually makes good sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47398427)

It's pretty BS though.
You could just put whatever it is in your suitcase and they would never find out.

Re:Actually makes good sense (2)

qbast (1265706) | about 4 months ago | (#47398449)

Are you kidding? Checked baggage is scanned as well. Actually if you put electronics (or any valuables) in your checked baggage, you have good chance of never seeing them again.

Re:Actually makes good sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47398471)

They scan it, but they don't turn on each and every piece of electronics in checked baggage.
I put lots of electronics in my suitcase:
hard drives, electric shavers, chargers etc.

Re:Actually makes good sense (2)

qbast (1265706) | about 4 months ago | (#47398543)

Well, I hope your luck holds. You might be careful when flying from these airports: The Top 20 Airports for TSA Theft [go.com]

No it makes no sense at all (1)

brunes69 (86786) | about 4 months ago | (#47398565)

Just because you can power a device up does not mean it has not been modified.

Anyone with even moderate skills could EASILY take an off the shelf business class laptop, remove 3/4 of the guts of it, replace it with a tiny SOC, fill the case with explosive, and the laptop would boot and display and work just fine. The only way to know it was modified would be to look in detail* at the system specs and compare to an online DB - do you honestly think that TSA is going to do this? Replace all of above with phone / tablet, it is the same story.

* Oh, other than XRay the damn thing, which is what the TSA does anyway do they not? I honestly do not get what this "powering on of electronics" is supposed to achieve. Only the most idiotic of plots would be foiled by this.

Re:No it makes no sense at all (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | about 4 months ago | (#47398605)

Especially since many newer laptops [cloudfront.net] are like 3/4 filled with batteries anyway. The pictured laptop is a Macbook Air. There's plenty of room in there to house an actually fully functional laptop with the same specs but partially reduced battery life, and hide other stuff in there.

Re:No it makes no sense at all (1)

qbast (1265706) | about 4 months ago | (#47398617)

I honestly do not get what this "powering on of electronics" is supposed to achieve. Only the most idiotic of plots would be foiled by this.

- please turn on the laptop
- [it powers up, truecrypt prompt shows up]
- come with me please, you have been randomly selected for additional screening

Re:No it makes no sense at all (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47398679)

you are pretty stupid to make this comment, in short you will be in a no fly list, and every time you go through the border will be anally inspected... twice.

Re:No it makes no sense at all (1)

Sarten-X (1102295) | about 4 months ago | (#47398729)

...other than XRay the damn thing, which is what the TSA does anyway do they not?

Yes, they do, and the agents know what an unmodified phone or laptop looks like. They're usually not just a small circuit with most of the case filled with some unidentified material.

Only the most idiotic of plots would be foiled by this.

Well, yes, but only the most idiotic of plots would be foiled by any single measure. All together, the detection measures simply raise the cost of planning a non-idiotic plot. Now, a successful terrorist must spend an extra $100 on parts and 100 hours on hardware modifications, while still spending the time and money to jump through every other hurdle in the way.

Sure, a sufficiently-competent entity can get through every security measure, but the point is to raise the difficulty high enough that the attack isn't worth the hassle. That sentiment applies to every aspect of security, not just airplanes.

Re:Actually makes good sense (1)

Entropius (188861) | about 4 months ago | (#47398599)

I thought that's what those x-ray machines were for?

Besides, there is a lot of empty space inside some laptops. If they're worried about someone putting a bomb inside a laptop that won't boot then they should be equally worried about someone putting one inside a laptop that will.

Re:Actually makes good sense (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 4 months ago | (#47398619)

If you can't power the things up there is no way to tell what they actually are.

Unless a given widget has heroic inrush current on start, if you can power the thing up there is no way to tell whether it's the genuine article or the genuine article with a teeny li-poly cell(or even a higher-density lithium primary cell, no need to recharge in paradise after all...) providing ~10 minutes of runtime and leaving most of the battery volume for even more energetic contents...

Re:Actually makes good sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47398733)

Or if a terrorist make sure you leave a small amount of battery to enable the boot screen at the airport. more that enough space (CD drive in laptop) to provide other electronics.

Hugely inconvenient (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47398393)

This sounds like it would be hugely inconvenient, but I can imagine this being the appropriate response to a sizeable number of potential threats. Let's hope that a short inconvenience is all this turns out to be.

Land of the free (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47398397)

Home of the brave.

Re: Land of the fee (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47398429)

Home of the slave

Re: Land of the fee (5, Insightful)

Stargoat (658863) | about 4 months ago | (#47398507)

Yeah. That flag pretty much no longer flies over the land of the free and the home of the brave.

Last time I went into a court house, I was required to remove my belt. Somehow, the US made it through a foreign invasion, a Civil War, WWI, WWII, the Cold War, and absolutely massive social upheaval without requiring people to remove clothing to enter into courts of law. But a few jackasses drive airplanes into some buildings and it's goodbye liberty, hello 'safety'. This 100% safe nonsense is destroying the Republic. We are less safe than ever and we have done it to ourselves. Government is the problem with our security, not to the solution to it

Sucks (2)

SJHillman (1966756) | about 4 months ago | (#47398403)

I can see this sucking for people who kill their battery browsing Slashdot while waiting for their flight.

Re:Sucks (1)

stephendavion (2872091) | about 4 months ago | (#47398431)

haha ...

Re:Sucks (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47398613)

Not if they are using the Beta.

I feel safer already? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47398419)

The Security Theater Association once again makes travelers feel safe.

I will no longer feel threatend by the guy sitting next to me in the lounge charging his phone.

Next they should introduce an arbitrary weight restriction on electronic devices which must also be placed in a sealed blast-proof ziplock bag?

When Will They???? (1, Redundant)

stephendavion (2872091) | about 4 months ago | (#47398421)

When will they return the devices???? I dont want to loose my iPhone or iPad .....

Re:When Will They???? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47398463)

They won't. Once you leave it with them it is theirs to keep (and auction off).

If you want to keep it, you must leave security and do something like mail it to your destination, before going through security.

Re:When Will They???? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47398499)

Well take a screwdriver and tighten them then.

That'll show 'em! (4, Informative)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 4 months ago | (#47398435)

Short of 'eh, just buy a display model on ebay and pack it full of semtex, the TSA won't notice...' slacker-terrorist stuff, how useful is the 'turn it on' test?

With the relentless demand for miniaturization and battery life, most consumer electronics should be able to get enough power to boot-and-display-innocence out of a battery pack markedly smaller than their real one, even without further clever surgery. In the case of products that have substantial spec variations available in the same chassis (like most 'workstation' laptops) or very similar ones(most cellphone flavors that have a high-end and a cheap-seats variant that share a design language, and often a number of parts), the slightly more adept attacker has even more room, literally, to build a low-drain device and its teeny battery into the chassis designed to run a fairly firebreathing set of components for a couple of hours.

Does the TSA expect that most of their enemies are as dumb as they are, or is this a 'well, it isn't worth much; but it's easy to impose so it's probably worth what you pay...' measure?

Re:That'll show 'em! (5, Funny)

Mr D from 63 (3395377) | about 4 months ago | (#47398457)

Its quite simple in fact. If you have an explosive device, you must prove that you can turn it on in order to bring it aboard the plane.

Re:That'll show 'em! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47398483)

What makes you believe this is actually about explosives? Can't it just be about encryption? Powered of stuff has no chance of containing an encryption key in ram (if it wasn't just very recently powered off). By forcing to have them powered, they might force to pass full disk encryption (truecrypt shows just a boot message, they might say that isn't enough for some reason or another).

Re:That'll show 'em! (1)

Pikoro (844299) | about 4 months ago | (#47398523)

I was just thinking of that. Put a battery powered Raspberry Pi inside a stripped out laptop case and fill the empty space with whatever you want. Then when asked to power it on, it would boot without issues but would allow you to pack it to the brim with something more dangerous...Yah I know the xray machine would show that it looked abnormal, but perhaps some etched circuit boards in a single layer on the bottom to confound scanners?

Re:That'll show 'em! (4, Insightful)

TheCarp (96830) | about 4 months ago | (#47398561)

> Does the TSA expect that most of their enemies are as dumb as they are

No, they expect the public will not listen to their enemies about how stupid it all is. They are not worried about their enemies because they already won and the public will fund whatever staffing levels they can justify.

To think that the TSAs real enemies are terrorists is laughable, they are a theater troupe doing security plays. Their enemy is the guy calling them out for being actors.

Re:That'll show 'em! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47398651)

Perhaps it's you that's dumb.

If, for instance, intelligence is aware of a plot to completely replace a cell-phone or laptop batteri with explosives (so that it looks normal to the X-Ray machine operator) and then assemble the bomb in the airport waiting area, this measure would disrupt that scheme.

Or, by disrupting the normal airport screening experience, they would increase the likelihood of negating the careful rehearsal of some unrelated scheme by those with nefarious intent.

A new phone in every city (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47398439)

Because they use cell phone signals to send drones to kill people! If you turn it on when they ask they know the signature belongs to you. Just don't bring a phone on a plane and use a disposable one when you land. Airports like Toronto record all cell phone traffic and network traffic in the airport area and forward it to the USA anyways.

In other News (1)

rmdingler (1955220) | about 4 months ago | (#47398441)

Security assets have uncovered an insidious plot to disguise explosive-carrying Mujahideen as elderly folks who statistically receive less scrutiny at pre-boarding ceremonies.

Yep, traveling with Granny might hinder your ability to make connecting flights.

Taser? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47398445)

I guess you cannot discharge your Taser on the plane then.
I believe the TSA notice mentions *powerless* electronic devices. Tou could even use the word "uncharged".
The word "discharged" has a whole other meaning.

charger (2)

BradMajors (995624) | about 4 months ago | (#47398447)

Somehow I don't think the TSA will allow people to power up their device with the charging cable if the battery is dead.

Re:charger (2)

skovnymfe (1671822) | about 4 months ago | (#47398627)

Sure they will. How else will NSA hot-drop spyware on every single device that leaves/enters the country?

Re:charger (1)

skovnymfe (1671822) | about 4 months ago | (#47398643)

As in people will have to use the officially TSA-provided charger cable. Of course. Reaching into your backpack while three humongous, and absurdly inconsiderate TSA footmen are looking over your shoulder might be considered offensive, outright dangerous, criminally insane, HE'S GOT A GUN! SHOOT HIM!

Re:charger (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about 4 months ago | (#47398665)

I assume they have a quick and easy method to hold the phone or ship it somewhere or provide a mechanism to heap invective on President Obama.

Charge or die! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47398469)

Well on the bright side once the TSA finds your uncharged device it will get charged while they're tasing you like it's going out of style. Just be sure you don't have two uncharged devices because that's when they unleash P.Diddy. If you have three you're fucked, they bring in Kanye West, game over.

Is this new? (1)

Zebedeu (739988) | about 4 months ago | (#47398473)

Is this a new rule?
I've been asked before to power up my SLR when going through the security check.
It never happened with any other device, so I always thought it was some particular feature of the SLR which made it seem like evil stuff to the scanners.

I believe this already happened in Europe and Asia, so I can't say if they weren't doing this in the US before.
In the paranoid minds of the Airport security personel it actually makes sense. From a scan it's impossible to distinguish legitimate circuitry from bomb or plane-hacking components.

Not that I agree with the general airport security apparatus. I wish it were more like taking a train, or a bus, but I digress.

Re:Is this new? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47398521)

I was asked to turn on my Amazon Kindle like 3 years ago for inspection.

It's been more than a decade (1, Troll)

jeIIomizer (3670945) | about 4 months ago | (#47398475)

The TSA has been violating the constitution and people's fundamental liberties in broad daylight for more than a decade. 'Land of the free'? Not until we take care of serious problems like this.

Re:It's been more than a decade (1)

skovnymfe (1671822) | about 4 months ago | (#47398657)

Not until we take care of serious problems like this.

We should get started then.

Glory to Arstotzka. (0)

Sasayaki (1096761) | about 4 months ago | (#47398479)

Glory to Arstotzka.

What the fuck is the point of the x-rays then? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47398501)

Seriously, what the fuck is the point of the x-rays then?

And in 6 months (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47398515)

And in 6 months the only laptops confiscated will be from companies the US wants industrial secrets from.

Won't be the first time they did this.

Sigh...fucking slashdot (2, Insightful)

magamiako1 (1026318) | about 4 months ago | (#47398519)

As another poster stated, this is only on certain international flights originating from certain countries--and in addition to that, I'm sure you can power your phone off once you've powered it on for them.

While this could be for another form of 'tracking' with cell phone tracking technologies (which exist), I feel it would be impossible to know just from cell phone identification what a person intends to do.

So I suspect it's nothing more than "Ensure that the phone is not a bomb in disguise".

Re:Sigh...fucking slashdot (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47398587)

How many laptop bombs have gotten past airport security in the entire history of everything? I can't think of a single one. And you just know if it had happened, the news media would have driven themselves to hysteria "reporting" on it afterwards (CNN headline: 26 days since LAPTOPMAGEDDON, video at 6!)

This "solution" is to an imaginary problem. It's another power grab by the TSA, and the bomb check is just the fig leaf used to justify it.

Re:Sigh...fucking slashdot (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47398589)

this is only on certain international flights originating from certain countries

Well, for now...

Re:Sigh...fucking slashdot (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47398739)

Unless they somehow or other have the signature of the cell-phones associated with some plot or other, and want to add one more wrinkle to the plans of those involved in the plot.

Sigh! (1)

rmdingler (1955220) | about 4 months ago | (#47398527)

Does anyone really believe the next great air-to-ground attack is going to resemble the last one?

The assumption that folks of Arabian descent who harbor ill will for the West would use a commercial jet is at best security theatre, and at worst, unimaginable incompetence.

Small aircraft leave and land at airports thousands of times a day with little or no TSA interaction, or imagine three drones leaving residential garages simultaneously on Superbowl Sunday...why would they concentrate their rather scattered efforts at a stronghold in their enemy's defenses?

My question (5, Insightful)

DarkOx (621550) | about 4 months ago | (#47398537)

In theory if you can't get through the security check you are allowed to leave with your property. In practice people have been prevented from doing so.

If someone does arrive at the security checkpoint with a $600 dollar tablet that happens to have a dead battery, for their $130 flight is the TSA going to let them just leave?

Not so stupid but.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47398541)

Overseas, many years ago, laptops were not allowed to board flights in Spain/France if they did not power up.

Its a common occurance to have a depleted battery. TSA should at least provide usb power to allow equipment to boot up if the battery can not do it. When connected to power and it still shows no sign of life it should be inspected more closely. If xrays look normal the only thing confiscated should be the battery. A battery full of C4 could be a problem, and likely hard to tell the difference without chemical examination, which is of course possible without destroying it.

Absurd (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47398549)

I'm sure this is related more to NFC snooping than it is to verify the device is what it appears to be. This is why I specifically remove my batteries from all my devices before flying.

Fuck them.

Not exactly new (2)

time_lords_almanac (3527081) | about 4 months ago | (#47398557)

My first ever trip to the US (back in 2010), I was asked to power on my laptop going through security. In fact, while researching the trip IIRC the airline website even called this out as a specific to precaution to make sure your devices were charged in case you were asked to prove they worked. I wasn't asked on my second and third trips, so it must have only been sporadic ("additional screening" type thing). I would definitely be a bit time consuming to check all devices for all passengers, if that is the intent.

Unlock / decrypt? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47398569)

Will I have to unlock my phone or boot my laptop, i.e. mount an encrypted volume? Is this just an excuse to access my data?

More security theater? (3, Insightful)

janoc (699997) | about 4 months ago | (#47398571)

I do wonder how this is going to stop someone from smuggling an explosive on board. It is vastly easier to conceal some nasty payload inside of a bulky laptop than inside of a battery. And it could still even work as a laptop - a brick of a plastic explosive the size of a disk drive or a secondary battery would be enough to cause a huge problem on board, without preventing the laptop from booting up and working.

And that is still assuming someone would actually want to bother with this - the guy with explosive underpants certainly didn't need a working battery ...

Mind boggling stupidity.

TSA = the USA's Gestapo (1, Interesting)

FudRucker (866063) | about 4 months ago | (#47398577)

they are killing the airline industry, soon nobody will want to fly, years ago before 9/11/2001, once a year i used to fly to miami to spend a week at southbeach or to galveston and rent a motorcycle to ride around on padre island for a week , now i wont go near an airport anymore because i dont want those nazis putting their filthy hands on my body and i dont want to be xrayed with their death machines, so now i just spend my vacation week at home where it is nice and boring, - thanks US Govt you fucking nazis

It's not about explosives (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47398675)

It's about eliminating the only real defense against Stingray tech. Enjoy the pre-flight scan of your mobile's contents.

And Your Vibrator (5, Funny)

Greyfox (87712) | about 4 months ago | (#47398685)

If you have a vibrator in your luggage you'll have a better-than-average chance of being asked to turn that on, too. If you pack the biggest one you can find in your carry-on right next to your cell phone, they might not even notice your cell phone.

TSA logic (1)

FuzzNugget (2840687) | about 4 months ago | (#47398711)

"Oh, battery's dead? OK, here's a power outlet."

How fucking hard is that?

Real TSA Motivations (4, Interesting)

MrLogic17 (233498) | about 4 months ago | (#47398713)

I'm starting to think that the TSA's real motivation is to slowly put all of the airlines out of business.
If so, they're going to be one of the most successful covert operations in history.

Why this is being done (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47398723)

I'm inclined to think this rule is being implemented because it's impossible to run their spyware and leech all your laptop/tablet/phone's data if it has no battery and no power.

Don't forget, they're apparently allowed to demand access to your data.

Don't bring chargers ! (1)

fgouget (925644) | about 4 months ago | (#47398727)

Devices that can't be turned on won't be permitted on flights, TSA said.

Don't bring chargers with you!
Clearly you won't be able to power on these devices if you're not allowed to plug them in. So under these new rules the TSA would clearly have to confiscate them. Furthermore you'd likely oppose their common sense move which would delay you going through security; increasing the risk that your phone's battery runs out, leading to it being confiscated too...

This is nothing new. (1)

TigerPlish (174064) | about 4 months ago | (#47398747)

1991, leaving Franfurt towards Paris (just a short jaunt in a puddlejumper) I was asked by the security person working the line to demonstrate my camera was a real camera. So I uncap the lens, aimed at her, who quickly voiced her opposition to that idea, so I shot the ceiling instead. Wasted one frame of film to show her my tattered minolta x-700 wasn't some terrorists's bomb.

I suppose this was fallout from the bomb that took Pan Am 103 down over Lockerbie.

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