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Terror Warning Means Your Smartphone and Shoes Are More Suspicious Than Ever

July 7, 2014 at 12:30 PM | by | ()

Very quickly - before we get to the travel news in this post - can we just make a simple request? As you're about to read, airport security is getting bumped up across the world. This happened just as the 4th of July weekend kicked off. So things are going to be hectic enough without you idiots grinding checkpoints to a halt by trying to smuggle actual, real life, exploding fireworks on board airplanes. For fuck's sake.

Now that that's out of the way.

As we told you last Monday, various branches of the U.S. intelligence community have concluded that Yemen-linked jihadists, operating out of Syria, may be plotting to take down American and European airliners. The scheme would involve terrorists with Western passports slipping through security armed with a new generation of undetectable explosives. We suggested you might soon be seeing enhanced screening procedures.

Fast forward to Wedenesday. Homeland Security officials announced that - acting on the intelligence that was so well-leaked on Monday - they have demanded that passengers flying direct to the U.S. from certain airports face heightened security. Reuters explained that iPhones and Samsung Galaxies were in particular due for extra scrutiny, as were just shoes in general. If you are traveling with a smartphone (and who isn't?), you may now be asked to prove that it's capable of powering on. Uncharged phones (ones which will not turn on) may be confiscated or refused travel.

As always, foreign airports are free to shrug off DHS's request, and DHS is free to quickly ban them from U.S. airports. Unsurprisingly, Britain's transportation minister duly announced that the country's airports would be tightening their security. He promised, though, that "the majority of passengers should not experience significant disruption."

We kind of like that language. Not only does it hint that a minority of passangers will in fact face significant disruption, but it leaves open the possibility that a majority of passengers could face insignificant disruptions. Not very reassuring.

[Photo: BAA Airports / YouTube]

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