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TSA to Enact Stricter Electronic Screenings at All US Airports

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Airport screenings are about to become even stricter for people traveling with electronic devices larger than a mobile phone. The US Transportation Security Administration plans to enforce additional rules aimed at items such as tablets and e-readers.

Wednesday’s announcement by the TSA is a response to a burgeoning threat of hidden explosives in electronic devices, which the US Department of Homeland Security has addressed in recent changes on international flight security protocols.

The upcoming new security guidelines for electronics could greatly raise the number of items a person will need to remove from their luggage before going past the TSA checkpoint. These security measures would allow TSA agents to get a better view of additional electronics through X-ray screening.

The new orders would apply at standard security lanes, but not for the TSA’s “pre-check” passengers, a TSA press release stated.

“It is critical for TSA to constantly enhance and adjust security screening procedures to stay ahead of evolving threats and keep passengers safe,” said TSA Acting Administrator Huban A. Gowadia, according to the press release.

Ten US airports in Boston, Detroit, Los Angeles, Phoenix and elsewhere across the country have already begun putting the procedures into action in a TSA pilot project.

A trade group representing United Airlines, Southwest Airlines and American Airlines stated that airlines “remain committed to working collaboratively with DHS officials to strike the appropriate balance of maintaining the efficiency of the system, while ensuring the highest levels of security are in place,” Reuters reported.

On June 28, stricter guidelines for foreign flights coming into the US were implemented by the DHS in stages. The department announced last week that 180 airlines from around the world that fly into the US have complied with the first phase of their security measures which required these enhanced security measures, according to Reuters.

The US in March imposed a ban on laptops coming from flights which originated from nine airlines in the Middle East and Africa, and then subsequently lifted the ban earlier this month. Officials stated that the measures unveiled in June were enacted to officially end the ban on laptops, which could have potentially spread to other areas of the world, including Europe.

The rate at which technology is progressing may render some of these new protocols obsolete sooner than later. Last month, the TSA began testing a new baggage scanning technology that can see bombs and weapons in people’s luggage and create a 3D image of the contents, according to the Los Angeles Times.

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