Wednesday, July 26, 2017

TSA announces tighter security measures for carry-on electronics

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is implementing new, stronger screening procedures that will result in closer scrutiny of all carry-on electronic items larger than a cellphone.

The TSA announced that it will require travelers in standard screening lanes to place all electronics larger than a cellphone in bins, with nothing on top or underneath, for X-ray screening, similar to the way laptop computers have been screened for the last several years. That step helps TSA officers obtain a clearer X-ray image, according to the agency.

TSA Pre-Check at SEA
“It is critical for TSA to constantly enhance and adjust security screening procedures to stay ahead of evolving threats and keep passengers safe,” Huban Gowadia, the TSA’s Acting Administrator, said in a statement announced the change. “By separating personal electronic items such as laptops, tablets, e-readers and handheld game consoles for screening, TSA officers can more closely focus on resolving alarms and stopping terror threats.”

Developed in response to an increased threat to aviation security, the new procedure was tested extensively and the subject of pilot programs at 10 airports across the country. Now in place at those airports, the measures will be expanded to all U.S. airports during the weeks and months ahead, TSA said.

The airports where the procedure is currently in place include Boise Airport (BOI); Colorado Springs Airport (COS); Detroit Metropolitan Airport (DTW); Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL); Boston Logan International Airport (BOS); Los Angeles International Airport (LAX); Lubbock Preston Smith International Airport (LBB) in Texas; Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport (SJU) in San Juan, Puerto Rico; McCarran International Airport (LAS) in Las Vegas; and Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX).

TSA officers will be stationed in front of the checkpoint X-ray machines to guide passengers through the screening process and recommend how best to arrange their carry-on items for X-ray screening. Travelers are encouraged to organize their carry-on bags and keep them uncluttered to ease the screening process and keep the lines moving.

However, it is important to note that there are no changes to what travelers can bring through the checkpoint. Food and liquid items that comply with the 3-1-1 liquids rule, electronics, and books continue to be allowed in carry-on bags.

It is possible that passengers may experience more bag checks, TSA noted. However, through extensive testing, the agency identified ways to improve screening procedures with quicker and more targeted measures to clear passengers’ bags.

The stronger security measures do not apply to passengers enrolled in TSA Pre✓® who are using TSA Pre✓® lanes, the agency said. Travelers enrolled in TSA Pre✓® do not need to remove shoes, 3-1-1 liquids, laptops, electronics, light outerwear, or belts. The program allows TSA to focus resources on passengers who may pose a high risk to security while providing expedited screening to those travelers who have been identified as low-risk, trusted travelers.

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Photo by Carl Dombek
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