Terror Behind Laptops and Tablets
Trump's recent restrictions on electronics not a win with travelers.
Following President’s Trump new order on electronic devices passengers coming on direct flights to the U.S. from eight majority-Muslim countries must stow their electronic devices, including laptops, tablets and cameras in their checked baggage and undergo through a tough security clearance.
Trump Administration said passengers can still carry smartphones into the plane's cabin, but nothing larger.
The measures took effect Tuesday morning after U.S. security analysts reported about a threat from terrorist groups such as al-Qaeda and Somalia-based al-Shabab who are smuggling explosive devices into laptops cameras and tablets.
This new rules affect nearly 50 incoming flights a day from Jordan, Egypt, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Morocco, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.
The ban restriction caused a lot of frustration and inconvenience among those passengers who were flying to the U.S. this week.
Anirudh Singh, citizen of India, was traveling back to the U.S., claimed that his connecting flight through Dubai was the worst experience ever.
“The security clearance took more then three hours and it was very annoying. I am not from the Middle East, but since I was traveling via Dubai, I became a victim of discrimination as well,” said Singh.
On the other side journalists and analysts are trying to draw the line between the immigration ban in Jan. and this new ban on electronic devices. If the reasoning behind the first one was to restrict entrance to the U.S. citizens of Libya, Syria, Iraq, Iran, Somalia, Sudan, Yemen, because they may carry a threat of terrorism, then how come this new law in effect restricting electronic devices doesn’t apply to the same countries that were supposedly be “countries of terrorism”.
Passenger from Turkey, Cevdet Ozdemir, who, travels to the U.S. frequently, said he doesn’t feel comfortable about this ban. He accepts the new law within the safety reasons, but other than that twelve hours of not being able to work or use your laptop is a lot of inconvenience, especially for people who run a business.
“I definitely feel offended, why the ban is only restricting these eight countries among others. It like Turkey is on the black list, which make people feel endangered just to be around. I think the U.S. government should really talk to the Turkey officials and find some long term resolution to this, because it doesn’t feel good as being a citizen from the country that is under the ban, but I don’t really think it is a choice,” said Ozdemir.
Many people question the logic behind the ban: If a laptop can be converted into a bomb, what difference does it make if you check it or carry it onboard? If there is an explosion in the baggage area, would that crash the plane anyways? Haven't most in-air bombing incidents been caused by explosives in the cargo holds of planes?
One Turkish citizen Yasin Ozturk who was traveling to Istanbul today said that it is really embarrassing Turkey was on the list of the ban and it does offend him in a way, because it is an indirect way to say “Turkish people are terrorists”, which is not true.
“I understands that this is all preventative measures for safety reasons and the main thing to get to the U.S. safely, even though it does bring certain inconvenience for a long flight like that, and some worries about your personal valuable belongings being stolen. Nobody gives you any guarantees or insurance, when you pack your laptop in the checked bag. I believe Turkey got into the ban, because of the recent attacks happening there and since Turkey is accepting many immigrants from Syria, everything is not stable there,” said Ozturk.
The Department of Homeland Security said the ban would remain in place at least till October this year and then might be extended, if the threat still exists. Also restrictions would not apply to aircraft crews, but only to passengers in those restricted airports.
Walyd Aly who is in Egypt right now will be traveling back to the U.S. said “Travel safety and taking tight measurements is good for all, however, we need to do it with all airlines, not just those under ban. Following the restrictions it is better to travel without your laptop at all, because it can get easily broken in the main luggage or can be stolen, but for those who carry, just need to make sure to wrap it properly,” said Aly.