DHS Considering Laptop and Tablet Ban on All Flights From Europe to US

Multiple sources are reporting that Homeland Security is considering banning all laptops and tablets from all cabins on all flights from Europe.

An announcement is expected tomorrow and I will update this post if an announcement is made.

DHS is saying today that no final decision has been made.

While we don’t know what DHS will do, here are my thoughts:

  1. It is HIGHLY likely that terrorists have figured out how to make bombs that can be hidden inside laptops and other larger electronic devices.
  2. Since airlines are not responsible for broken or stolen laptops and other electronic equipment in checked baggage, that puts travelers between a rock and a hard place.
  3. Stolen laptops and electronics represent a major security risk to corporations and individuals.
  4. ALL companies and users should encrypt ALL mobile devices to reduce the risk of having to declare a breach when an unencrypted laptop is missing from checked luggage.  The only state that was thought to require a breach declaration for encrypted data was Tennessee and they changed their law last month to clarify that was not the case.
  5. Regarding broken laptops (and when I say laptops I mean laptops, tablets, drones, cameras and other electronic equipment), there are a couple of issues.  First, consider insurance.  It is possible that you may be able to add coverage to your homeowners or renters policy but beware of policy deductibles.  For businesses, they are likely to be self insured.
  6. If you are going on a trip and electronics (and the data stored on them) are important, you should consider a disaster preparedness/incident response plan to deal with what occurs if your electronics don’t arrive or are broken.
  7. ASSUMING this happens, this is the best gift ever for the video conferencing business since 9/11.  The airlines didn’t recover from the lost business from 9/11 for years.  If this happens, this will just accelerate the decline of business travel.

One more thing to consider.  Given that Lithium Ion batteries – the type used in laptops – were responsible for more than 30 in flight cabin fire incidents in 2016 that flight attendants were able to put out with halon fire extinguishers, putting those devices in baggage may represent a safety issue. The FAA’s Fire Safety Branch says that the fire suppression systems used in cargo holds is ineffective at putting out lithium ion fires caused by the types of batteries in laptops, based on their tests in 2015.

Stay tuned for more details.

Information from this post came from the Daily Beast.

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