DHS Lifts Laptop Ban, CBP Announces New Screening at Chicago O’Hare
This week, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) lifted its ban on laptops and other large electronic devices on non-stop flights from 10 Muslim-majority countries.
The ban was implemented in March, with DHS officials citing a test they had conducted in which a small amount of explosives was able to destroy an airplane. In May, DHS announced it was considering expanding the ban to all flights originating in Europe.
"Having been around explosives all my life, the device as described to me had an amount of explosive on it that I just did not believe could destroy an airplane in flight," said Kelly, a retired Marine Corps general. "So, we tested it, on a real airplane, on the ground, pressurized. To say the least, it destroyed the airplane.”
The tests were conducted on the basis of “strong, credible intelligence about a possible plot to use explosives hidden in a laptop to try to bring down a commercial airliner.”
Lifting the ban follows the establishment of new standards for airline carriers flying into the United States. According to the New York Times, “More than 280 airports — including the 10 targeted by the original laptop ban — complied with that rule.”
The Times says that, by this fall, airlines must also “demonstrate that they have the ability to conduct tougher security checks, including interviewing passengers as part of the screening.”
In other transportation security-related news, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced this week the installation of biometric technology for passengers exiting Chicago O’Hare International Airport. The process involves creating flight-specific photo galleries of passengers and using live facial recognition to compare the passenger exiting the flight to the photo provided on the travel document.
Homeland Security Today reports that “Delta and JetBlue are also partnering with CBP to integrate facial recognition technology as part of the boarding process. Delta is testing eGates at John F. Kennedy International Airport and Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport,” while “JetBlue is testing facial recognition technology at Boston Logan International Airport that allows passengers to self-board without scanning a boarding pass.”
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