Director, Cyber-surveillance and Information Security
So, you’re ready for your next vacation! Shots: check! Passport: check! Airplane tickets: check! Luggage: check! Laptop and camera: check! Everything is arranged, and you are ready to embark on the best vacation of your life! Heck, on the flight home, you’ll even be able to make posts to your blog and sort through all those photos you took.
Well, hold on. You might have an unpleasant surprise when you get to the airport.
New legislation in the United States is preventing airplane “[…] passengers from bringing laptops, tablet computers, and other electronic devices as carry-on items on nonstop flights from 10 airports in the Middle East and North Africa.” Within the coming weeks, it is possible that this legislation will be extended to the United Kingdom and Canada, too.
In other words, it seems that the security practices concerning electronic devices is about to change completely. While it is still possible right now to carry your laptop, tablets and other computer-like gadgets with you on most flights, that might not be the case for long. So, that “recreational” time that you have been taking for granted on flights might be history soon.
And even though you can still bring those devices aboard the plane, you can expect to have them checked by Customs and Border agents. Not only will you be asked to turn on your device to make sure it is working as intended, you may also be asked to provide your passwords and, in some rare cases, your passwords for some social media sites, such as Facebook or Twitter.
So what does that mean for the future? It essentially means that in the future, bringing electronic toys on a plane is going to become more and more of a hassle. It also means that you should not take for granted that your privacy will be protected when crossing a border. In other words, you might want to think twice before taking your brand-new laptop on your next trip. Are you really sure you want your new baby to undergo same treatment as your luggage?