Sunday, May 14, 2017

OMG - The sky is falling. Laptops may be banned in cabin from in Europe to US flights

    In March, the U.S. prohibited passengers heading to the U.S. from carrying any electronic devices larger than a smartphone in the passenger cabin from 10 countries in the Middle East and Northern Africa (link 1). The U.S. reportly will expand its large electronics ban to include all flights from Europe to the U.S. (link 1, link 2, link 3). Almost all of the articles, not surprisingly focus on lost productivity, increased theft risks, and the risks from storing large quantities of lithium ion batteries in the cargo hold of the aircraft.

      After years of being told not to put valuables in checked luggage, the thought of potentially having to check my laptop is worrisome. Although my laptop is password locked and encrypted, losing it would cause major trouble when traveling.

     I recently read an article by Carolyn Elefant about privacy issues at the U.S. border. In it, Ms. Elefant notes that those privacy concerns caused her to switch to a low cost laptop (a Google Chromebook) and rely more on cloud services. As a result, her new laptop is more secure and her files are similarly more secure. When the laptop ban comes into effect, I suspect more people will shift to systems similar to Ms. Elefant for exactly those reasons.

- Henry Park

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