The list of objects the TSA doesn’t like for you to carry in your bag may include scissors, water bottles or whatever else you may have packed that doesn’t come up to par to a standard you know nothing about. Now, that list has been extended to included dead phones.
According to a new announcement made by the Transportation Security Administration, passengers from certain overseas airports heading to the United States will have to prove the electronic devices they’ve packed can be powered up. If you’re out of luck and your phone has decided to die on you, your Kindle is already drained after reading on a previous flight, or your tablet is out of juice and you haven’t had time to charge any of them, you won’t be allowed to fly with those devices.
“Last week, Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson directed TSA to implement enhanced security measures at certain overseas airports with direct flights to the United States,” starts off the announcement.
The new “security measures” include electronic devices, which are already 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.”
If the situation weren’t bad enough, those utterly unlucky to have had their batteries drained, might also be “invited” to undergo additional screening.
Obviously, the new rules are quite vague and many things remain unclear. For instance, how will the agents decide who needs to be questioned in the airport backrooms? Will everyone be subjected to the same rules or will the TSA randomly select people and ask them to power up their devices?
There’s also the question of “how dead is dead?” on an electronic device. For instance, if it displays the regular signals that you’re out of battery and you need to plug it in, will you be excused?
The TSA and the Homeland Security are obviously concerned about the fact that dead devices could hide an explosive device, so the decision makes sense to an extent, but on the other hand, it breaches people’s privacy rights.
The Transportation Security Administration did not reveal which airports would subject travelers heading to USA to these new rules, but they will likely extend the security measure within a few months.