Trump administration might extend electronics ban to UK flights: Report

The Trump administration is reportedly considering whether to extend its electronics ban to US-bound flights from Europe, though nothing has been confirmed.
Written by Tas Bindi, Contributor

Passengers flying from the UK to the US may also be banned from bringing their laptops into aircraft cabins, it has been reported.

According to the Guardian, the Trump administration is considering extending its security restrictions -- which prohibits electronic devices larger than a smartphone from being taken as carry-on luggage -- to US-bound flights from Europe.

However, no final decisions have been made.

Both the US and UK governments introduced the electronics ban in March, impacting passengers on incoming flights from majority-Muslim nations in the Middle East and North Africa including Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Morocco, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and the United Arab Emirates.

Under the new regulations, passengers flying from certain airports are required to pack any electronic devices with dimensions larger than 16 cm x 9.3 cm x 1.5 cm into checked luggage, with smartphones and medical equipment exempt from the ban.

The unexpected bans were prompted by reports that militant groups are looking to smuggle explosives inside electronic devices, though no clear details were provided to the public at the time of the announcement.

It was later confirmed that the government was not acting in response to a new threat, but an ongoing one, with a senior US administration officials saying that "evaluated intelligence" pointed to terrorists "aggressively pursuing" ways to carry out attacks, such as hiding explosives in electronic devices.

The ban followed two failed executive actions by President Trump attempting to prohibit immigrants entering the US from seven majority-Muslim nations. Both attempts to implement the orders were later shut down by the courts.

UK authorities added some credence to the situation by replicating the electronics ban initiated by the US government, saying the measures were "necessary, effective, and proportionate" but did not explain why.

In a statement released at the time, the American Civil Liberties Union called the electronics ban "discriminatory."

"The administration hasn't provided a security rationale that makes sense for this measure targeting travelers from Muslim-majority countries," said Hina Shamsi, director of the ACLU National Security Project.

"Given the administration's already poor track record, this measure sends another signal of discriminatory targeting," she said.

Middle Eastern airlines such as Emirates and Turkish Airlines have since launched laptop and tablet handling services enabling passengers to use their devices until just before they board their US-bound flight.

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