The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) announced on Sunday that it will no longer allow users with “powerless devices” to board flights for the United States. Presumably, if people are unaware of the new regulation it could mean slower security lines as people are force to power up their phones and possibly be taken out of line for additional questioning.

TSA

TSA’s policy already in place for laptops

The TSA has a similar policy in place for laptops which must be turned on so it can be determined they are not filled with explosives. No details were given as to how passengers would retrieve their phones following confiscations.

The announcement came after a directive was issued last week by by Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson: “DHS continually assesses the global threat environment and reevaluate the measures we take to promote aviation security. As part of this ongoing process, I have directed TSA to implement enhanced security measures in the coming days at certain overseas airports with direct flights to the United States.”

Why now?

Last Thursday, Reuters reported that directive came amid concerns that terrorists in Syria and Yemen linked with al-Qaeda have been building undetectable bombs from cellphones and are working together on an attack that would target planes bound for Europe and the United States by using foreign fighters with Western passports.  Since that report, security officials have been scrutinizing smartphones considerably more on flights bound for the United States from Europe, Africa, and the Middle East.

Don’t worry they will still be having you take your shoes off as well believing that that remains a credible threat.

If airports don’t comply the flights will be banned from the United States which goes to show just how much sway the TSA holds overseas.

Britain’s deputy prime minister Nick Clegg said last week that tightened security at UK airports may not be temporary. “I don’t want people to think that this is just a sort of a blip for a week,” Clegg said. “This is part of an evolving and constant review about whether the checks keep up with the nature of the threats we face.”