The Latest Airport Security Theatre

All passengers flying into or out of the UK are being advised to ensure electronic and electrical devices in hand luggage are sufficiently charged to be switched on.

All electronic devices? Including phones, right? So you must be concerned that something dangerous could be concealed inside a package the size of a phone. And including laptops, right? Which are more than big enough to contain said dangerous phone-sized electronics package in the CD drive bay, or the PCMCIA slot, and still work perfectly. Or, the evilness could even be occupying 90% of the body of the laptop, while the other 10% is taken up by an actual phone wired to the display and the power button which shows a pretty picture when the laptop is “switched on”.

Or are the security people going to make us all run 3 applications of their choice and take a selfie using the onboard camera to demonstrate that the device is actually fully working, and not just showing a static image?

I can’t see this as being difficult to engineer around. And meanwhile, it will cause even more problems trying to find charging points in airports. Particularly for people who are transferring from one long flight to another.

9 thoughts on “The Latest Airport Security Theatre

  1. The stupid thing is that according to some reports, they’re concerned less about explosives *in* phones, and more about remote detonators being disguised as phones. Which doesn’t make any sense, given that an unmodified smartphone would be a perfectly functional remote-detonator, out of the box…

  2. We were just talking about this today at my client. The DVD drive on my laptop is bigger than the battery space, but no-one’s checking that…

  3. This isn’t about “turning it on to prove it’s a ‘real’ device” at all.

    It’s about turning it on so you can unlock it for the immigration agent so they can search for things like child pornography, stolen software/movies and other “contraband” at the checkpoint.

    A friend was recently telling me that Canadian immigration was doing this to everyone passing through a particular line at the border (looking for child pornography, specifically).

  4. Turning it on is one thing. Unlocking it is another. What are my rights? Can I refuse?

  5. Right. The disadvantage of not being American is that you can be refused admission.

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