Implications of the Laptop Ban

Posted on Aug 24, 2017

In late March of this year, intelligence became public that laptops on airplanes may be used as weapons of terror. These devices had the potential to be covertly loaded with explosives that officials feared could completely evade traditional means of security and detection. Due to this, the Trump Administration moved to ban laptops from ten airports across eight different countries. The move was an example of thorough threat intelligence sharing and was made in the name of better security. 

Threat Intelligence Sharing | A Lesson Learned From the Laptop Ban

However, as with anything, the law of unintended consequence came into play. Everyone from travelers, government officials, executives with airlines, and titans of industry had concerns about how the ban on laptops would be executed and what effects it would have. The uproar of industries affected by this ban lead to a lift on all airports except for one in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The controversial laptop ban resulted in the following security measures being implemented across domestic and international airports:

1. Heavier Security: Last month, U.S. officials announced new security requirements for all airlines rather than an expansion of the laptop ban. Some short time later, Homeland Security (DHS) issued a revised directive to all airlines around the world to implement tactics that would allow airlines more flexibility and additional time to obtain explosive trace detection equipment.

2. More Restrictions: DHS has said they will re enter the laptop ban if airlines do not abide quickly and promptly to the new regulations that have been enacted. European and U.S. officials gave a deadline of July 19 to have increased explosive trace detection screening and other measures along in place as well as a 120-day deadline to comply with other security measures that include enhanced screening of airline passengers, foreign and domestic, and enhanced canine screening.

The International Air Transport Association has criticized the new requirements in a letter to U.S. officials saying it is a "fundamental shift away from the risk-based approach" and said it would be "extremely difficult" to "meet the deadlines because of the lack of availability of screening equipment technology and resources." A TSA spokeswoman then defended the new security requirements that are aimed at avoiding expansion of the laptop ban and that the agency has been working with airlines for months to keep them informed on security issues.

Keeping information secure and employees safe is a critical aspect of any organization's travel plans. Well done threat intelligence sharing will continue to alert us to developing threats, but travel risk management must also be a key cog in your company's preparations. For more information, always keep tuned to NC4's blogs and services.

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