The Transportation Security Administration, better known to the common flyer as TSA, is about to make our security check process a bit longer.The TSA will now be checking electronic devices to make sure they are not cleverly disguised explosives. This comes as a larger push from the Department of Homeland Security to strengthen airport security for flights coming into the United States.
The easiest way to make sure an iPhone is not an iBomb is to, well, turn it on. The same rule applies for most electronics, including laptops. This means the TSA may ask flyers to turn their devices on and off, to prove they are real. In the event the device doesn't turn on (you're going to want to charge that phone in advance, or bring a battery pack,) the TSA will not allow your device onto the plane and you will have to go through additional security screening.
Jeh Johnson, Secretary of Homeland Security told NBC, "In this instance, we felt that it was important to crank it up some at the last point-of-departure airports. And we'll continually evaluate the situation. We know that there remains a terrorist threat to the United States. And aviation security is a large part of that."
While checking electronic devices for explosives is a logical step for the TSA to take, (we hope they were already doing this in some way?) the announcement seems like a how-to for potential threats. Considering how sophisticated technology has become, it would seem possible that an explosive could be detonated by pressing the power button alone.
In the meantime, we suggest flyers get to the airport even earlier and start bringing a phone charger literally everywhere they go. You don't want to be stranded in the air, unable to play Flappy Bird and take selfies.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.