Published: Fri, May 12, 2017
Markets | By Erika Turner

US to extend computer ban to Europe?

US to extend computer ban to Europe?

An intelligence official, who, like the airline official, was not authorized to speak publicly about the potential ban, said it was being considered because of concerns that radicalized citizens of European Union nations or people with dual citizenship could target US -bound flights.

Flights to the States from several countries in the Middle East and Africa are already affected, with passengers not allowed to carry electronic devices larger than a smartphone in their hand baggage.

Back in March, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security banned electronics on planes coming to the U.S. from eight Middle Eastern and African countries.

A DHS statement said the ban was "under consideration" and a decision would be based on possible threats to safety.

While the ban wouldn't directly affect South Africans here at home, business people travelling to the United States via Europe may find themselves twiddling their thumbs on a flight rather than using the time to get some work done. But DHS officials told the Reuters and dpa news agencies that no final decisions had been made.

Two people briefed on the matter said DHS officials are to meet with airline industry officials, Thursday to discuss security issues. A similar ban affecting European flights would likely be a major blow for legacy USA carriers and European carriers alike. The news comes from officials of the USA government. However, that ban only included flights heading to the U.S. from 10 airports in Turkey, the Middle East, and Africa.

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DHS also said at the time that terrorists were "aggressively pursuing innovative methods to undertake their attacks, to include smuggling explosive devices in various consumer items".

The ban applies to laptops and all devices larger than a cellphone, including tablets, cameras, DVD players and electronic games.

Back in March, DHS announced a laptop ban on US-bound flights from 10 airports in North Africa and the middle east, and the United Kingdom soon followed suit.

Europe is bracing for major turbulence: An electronics ban on flights to America.

Figures released by the US' Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) recorded 33 incidents of fire emergencies during flights caused by personal electronics devices previous year, including three involving laptops and two caused by tablets.

Although widening the electronics ban would add another layer of security, experts say it would still be limited in its objective.

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