US bans uncharged cell phones, laptops from some flights

The Transportation Security Administration says that security has been stepped up on certain flights into the US. This includes asking passengers to power up their devices.

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iPhones and Galaxys are reportedly already being heavily scrutinized. PhoneDog/YouTube screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

If you're flying into the US from certain countries, you may discover that getting through security will become even more time-consuming and stressful.

The US Transportation Security Administration revealed on Sunday that enhanced security procedures on flights coming to the US now include not allowing uncharged cell phones and other devices onto planes.

In a statement earlier this week, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said that the new measures were the result of a re-evaluation of measures "to promote aviation security."

There is no official list of which airports are affected. However, the BBC is reporting that London's Heathrow is one of them.

Reports suggest that the enhanced measures are in response to information that terrorists in Syria and Yemen have developed bombs that might evade the previous screening processes.

What's clear is that personal devices are being targeted. The TSA statement said: "During the security examination, officers may also ask that owners power up some devices, including cell phones. Powerless devices will not be permitted on board the aircraft. The traveler may also undergo additional screening."

Britain's Channel 4 reports that iPhones and Samsung Galaxys have already been singled out for additional scrutiny at certain airports in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.

Though the TSA said that it is constantly adjusting its procedures, there's reason to believe that security checks might become even more stringent.

The Guardian quotes Britain's deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg as saying: "I don't want people to think that this is just a sort of a blip for a week. This is part of an evolving and constant review about whether the checks keep up with the nature of the threats we face."

 

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