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DHS Bans Uncharged Phones, Laptops from U.S. Flights

The Department of Homeland Security has announced that laptops and smartphones with uncharged batteries will not be allowed on overseas flights to the United States.

“As the traveling public knows,” read a DHS statement, “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 statement adds that travelers carrying such uncharged devices could also be subject to additional screening.

A Reuters report singled out Apple iPhones and Samsung Galaxy smartphones in particular as being devices under increased scrutiny. Apparently concerns are that terrorist groups may have found a way to turn such phones into explosive devices that would sometimes be undetectable during existing security screenings. Presumably such terrorist-altered devices would be non-functional as conventional phones.

“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.” – DHS Statement

“DHS continually assesses the global threat environment and reevaluates the measures we take to promote aviation security,” DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson said in a statement from the department. “As part of this ongoing process, I have directed TSA to implement enhanced security measures in the coming days at certain overseas airports with direct flights to the United States. We will work to ensure these necessary steps pose as few disruptions to travelers as possible. We are sharing recent and relevant information with our foreign allies and are consulting the aviation industry. These communications are an important part of our commitment to providing our security partners with situational awareness about the current environment and protecting the traveling public. Aviation security includes a number of measures, both seen and unseen, informed by an evolving environment. As always, we will continue to adjust security measures to promote aviation security without unnecessary disruptions to the traveling public.

TSA will continue to adjust security measures to ensure that travelers are guaranteed the highest levels of aviation security conducted as conveniently as possible.”

One more reason to make sure your laptop or phone isn’t left uncharged.