TSA tells UK airport security: confiscate broken and out-of-battery gadgets

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2014/07/07/tsa-tells-uk-airport-security.html


I’ve never understood why, when TSA confiscates a bottle of liquid at the security check in, they just toss it in a garbage bin behind them. If it was an explosive it would take out everyone in the area.


Don’t they have xray machines to check this stuff?

1 Like

Simple: Because it’s entirely unlikely that it actually is an explosive and those measures are really just there so they look like they’re doing something. “See? We’re causing you major discomfort and will even go as far as to steal from you JUST TO KEEP YOU SAFE! BE GRATEFUL!”


The threat they were responding to concerned liquids that could be mixed with other liquids/things to form an explosive, not that the liquids were in themselves explosive.


Our family is preparing to head out on a road trip this morning. If a device’s battery runs down, I’ll remember to confiscate it in honor of this new rule.

My children will thank me later.


This is happening domestically as well. I fly quite a bit and recently at a pre-check lane my bag was given a thorough search and swabbing because of a 12000mAh external battery pack. The TSA guy was friendly and very non-nonchalant, but it was the first time they ever pulled my aside because of the power-packs in my bag so it was new to me.

And of course, this also opens the door for unscrupulous airport employees to confiscate battery drained electronics for them to take home as a nice present for their own kids.

But that aside - they have those fancy bomb sniffing devices, why don’t they just do the ol’ “swab and sniff” on any electronics that have a dead battery? Would this not solve the problem? Why do they have to be confiscated?


Wasn’t it revealed a few years ago that those ‘sniffer’ machines work about as well as the now-retired pornoscaners?

This is the first I’ve heard of that, but it would not even remotely surprise me to find that out.

I think it’s possible to build a sniffer that works, but some are total scams. In fact, I seem to recall somebody was prosecuted. Imagine that - defrauding the American people for security theater is actually against the law? Who knew?

So the next tactic of the evil-doers will be big Prell bottles full of unstable nitroglycerine? Just throw it over there, Larry!


Fire these morons! I’m sick and tired of hearing about one more stupid idea that comes out of these agencies. Fire them all right now.


Perhaps paranoid, but my first thought was that this is to ensure a device can be powered-on for official access to a device’s contents.


Mean while you can still carry aboard as much thermite, magnesium tape, and calcium carbide as will fit in your carryon bag.


“… require travellers to turn on their electronics before flying to the USA, and ban any broken or out-of-power devices.”

So, you turn on your device at Heathrow and 5 hours later you arrive in the US with a device that is without power.

Helluva plan.

1 Like

Fun fact: every terrorist plot has (to some degree) involved humans. TSA, you know what to do.


I dunno, if it saves just ONE life, then all the Billions spent and man hours wasted is worth it in my opinion.

</ sarcasm>

1 Like

I heard terrorists are planning on using screaming babies next… better plan on banning them before my next flight!


So if my phone breaks while on vacation I should just throw it away?

I am probably on the NSA watch list for accessing Boingboing anyway, so here’s an idea: operating devices can also be used in attacks. So who really cares about innoperating ones? Maybe the NSA is more concerned about innoperating devices that can be used to carry sensitive data in their flash memory without being accessed by their spy tech.

I carry bare hard drives back and forth across the Atlantic on a fairly regular basis. I guess this will put an end to that.