By: Sayyedeh Parastoo Vakili
Packing and planning for your next long trip recently became more stressful and difficult.
The United States government is banning people from carrying electronic devices from eight
different countries having a direct flight to the United States. This rule applies to flights from ten
airports in eight Middle Eastern and North African countries. Fortunately, none of the U.S. airlines
will be affected by this law, because U.S. does not have any direct flights from the targeted airports.
However, the airlines that are affected include Egypt Air, Emirates Airline, Etihad Airways, Kuwait
Airways, Qatar Airways, Royal Air Maroc, Royal Jordanian Airlines, Saudi Arabian Airlines, and
finally Turkish Airlines.
The U.S. government argued that the implementation of this new rule is for national security
purposes because they worry that people will smuggle explosives in commercial flights inside
consumer electronics. Luckily, they are not banning all devices, anything bigger than a smart phone
must be checked in – tablets, video game devices, and laptops are not allowed inside a carry-on and
must be checked in prior to boarding. Following the implementation of the new airline ban in the
U.S., other countries such as the United Kingdom, has taken a similar approach.
Although proponents of this new rule have argued that the new policy will strengthen our
national security, there are negative consequences that will greatly affect the airline customers. For
instance, according to CNN Tech, checking devices (e.g. laptops) may result in damage, loss, and
even hacks. Suitcases are usually thrown and tossed around between belts, trucks, and planes. Most
of the airlines do not claim liability and warn their customers against packing valuable or breakable
items. There is also the possibility that thier luggage will be stolen since there are valuable items
packed inside the suitcase. Furthermore, since TSA employees are allowed to open and examine
computers and tablets, they are vulnerable to hacks, malware, or spyware.
There are several safety measures that the travelers can utilize with respect to this airport ban.
It is important to backup your device before leaving for the airport in case it gets stolen. Set up a
special passcode lock that would remotely wipe your computer in case it is stolen. Another advice
would be to clean or delete the information on your computer before traveling. Although there are
security concerns with storing data on the cloud, it might allow travelers to remotely access their data
from any device, even their smartphones. But, the question remains, how will this ban affect
traveling in the long run? The ban may not prevent people from traveling but it will inconvenience
business travelers. Who knows, maybe the ban will have a positive effect, because in addition to the
United Kingdom, Canada is also researching whether to take such action or not.
Bio: Sayyedeh Parastoo Vakili is a Book Review Editor and Staff Member of the Journal of High
Technology Law. She is currently a 3L at Suffolk University Law School. She holds a B.S. in
Psychology and Sociology, and a M.S. in Crime and Justice Studies (MSCJS) both from Suffolk
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this blog are the views of the author alone and do not represent the views of JHTL or Suffolk University Law School.