DHS Lifts Polarizing Laptop Ban On Incoming U.S. Flights

The United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) completely lifted the controversial consumer electronics ban on certain incoming flights to the country, the agency's spokesman David Lapan confirmed on Wednesday. The measure was originally issued in mid-March by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) whose representatives claimed that all consumer electronics larger than a smartphone could potentially be used for hiding explosives. The ban was subsequently lifted for three airlines in the Middle East earlier this month, though the majority of them were still affected until yesterday. The latest turn of events comes shortly after the DHS managed to implement "enhanced security measures," Lapan said, implying how the federal agency is now confident that it's well-equipped to detect explosive devices hidden in consumer electronics and doesn't have to prevent passengers from having their laptops and tablets on incoming flights to the U.S.

The original measure affected ten airports and nine airlines from the Middle East, with opponents of the move claiming that it was simply meant to discourage people from traveling to the country, thus being a form of aggressive protectionism that was reflected on the political platform that propelled President Trump to the highest office in the country in late 2016. The DHS and TSA dismissed those accusations, stating that the measures were instated following credible reports from the intelligence community that a number of terrorist organizations are planning to bring explosives hidden in consumer electronics on incoming U.S. flights.

Regardless of the actual reasons for the ban, opponents of the current administration questioned its timing, noting how it followed shortly after President Trump signed a polarizing executive order preventing residents of seven Middle Eastern countries from traveling to the U.S. for a limited period and claiming how the temporal proximity of the two events was proof that the consumer electronics ban was anti-Muslim in nature, a notion which the White House promptly denied. The United Kingdom instated a similar ban shortly after the U.S. one but that particular order remains in place for the time being, suggesting that the measure ordered by the DHS was truly prompted by certain intelligence reports and wasn't a political decision.

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Dominik Bosnjak

Senior Writer
Dominik started at AndroidHeadlines in 2016. He’s approaching his first full decade in the media industry, with his background being primarily in technology, gaming, and entertainment. These days, his focus is more on the political side of the tech game, as well as data privacy issues, with him looking at both of those through the prism of Android. Contact him at [email protected]