The recent ban on large electronic devices imposed by the United States and subsequently by the United Kingdom will affect hundreds of Indian travellers. The countries have banned electronic devices larger than a phone in carry-on luggage on flights from a few selected countries on the basis of “evaluated intelligence” that suggest that militants prefer ”smuggling explosive devices in various consumer items”, reported The Guardian.
Even though the list of airports announced by the countries do not include any in India, they are key, and sometimes unavoidable, stopovers for Indians travelling to the US or UK. While the Donald Trump administration has specified 10 airports in West Asia that have been flagged by their intelligence agencies, the British government has identified six countries. The US list has Dubai International airport, which is frequently used for connecting flights by people travelling from India.
The electronic ban applies to the “last point of departure airports”, which means people travelling from India, and changing flights in Dubai, will also have to follow the new restriction. “TSA recommends passengers transferring at one of the 10 affected airports place any large personal electronic devices in their checked bags upon check-in at their originating airport,” the directive read.
The restriction was imposed on March 21. The decision was taken to plug loopholes in aviation security and avoid future terror attacks in the sector. “We have reason to be concerned,” the agency said – but did not address any specific threat,” said the US Department of Homeland Security. “We note that disseminated propaganda from various terrorist groups is encouraging attacks on aviation, to include tactics to circumvent aviation security.”
However, technology experts believe that the ban will not help serve any purpose. “It’s weird, because it doesn’t match a conventional threat model,” said Nicholas Weaver, researcher at the International Computer Science Institute at the University of California, Berkeley. “If you assume the attacker is interested in turning a laptop into a bomb, it would work just as well in the cargo hold.”
· Dubai International, United Arab Emirates
· Abu Dhabi International, United Arab Emirates
· Hamad International, Doha, Qatar
· Queen Alia International, Amman, Jordan
· Cairo International Airport, Egypt
· Ataturk Airport, Istanbul, Turkey
· King Abdulaziz International, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
· King Khalid International, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
· Kuwait International Airport
· Mohammed V International, Casablanca, Morocco
· Saudi Arabia