Report: US To Ban Tablets On Flights From European Countries

The United States government is expected to extend the scope of its tablet and laptop ban to select European countries, sources with knowledge of the matter said earlier this week. An announcement of an expanded ban will likely be made by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in the future, though it's currently unclear when exactly is the federal agency planning to publicly detail its new measures against terrorism. According to latest reports, the Trump administration is currently in the process of reviewing electronics storage procedures as government officials are adamant to ensure that lithium-ion batteries powering devices that will only be allowed to fly as checked baggage don't explode mid-flight.

Officials from the DHS already met with major airlines in the country on Thursday and discussed the upcoming security measures, as well as related issues, sources claim, adding that Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly gave a briefing on the matter to U.S. senators on the same day. The expansion of the existing consumer electronics flight ban is expected to affect major carriers in the country in a more significant manner than the original measure that was announced earlier this year did. The U.S. administration in March banned all electronics larger than smartphones on incoming flights from six Middle Eastern countries, and its move was promptly followed by the UK government, though neither country disclosed whether those measures were instated in response to a particular threat identified by their intelligence agencies. According to a fact sheet published by the DHS in late March, the ban was primarily adopted due to a suspicion that foreign terrorists have devised methods of smuggling explosives in consumer electronics.

The scope of the upcoming ban expansion has yet to be revealed, though one source claims that devices larger than smartphones could also be banned on flights from the UK to the United States. According to some security experts, the ban could be avoided in the future by improving baggage screening procedures given how the currently employed technology isn't efficient at differentiating between lithium-ion batteries and plastic explosives, both of which are dense objects. An update on the situation may follow in the coming weeks.

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