“Talks on a proposed U.S. ban on laptops and tablets in flights from Europe ended Wednesday with no ban — and a promise of more talks and better intelligence sharing,” The Associated Press reports. “For days now, European Union officials have been hoping for details on the threat that prompted the proposed ban — the same details that U.S. President Donald Trump discussed with Russian diplomats at the White House last week.”
“On Wednesday, in a secure room in Brussels, officials from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the European Union swapped information about threats involving air travel. An official who followed the talks said the ban was ‘off the table’ for now,” AP reports. “The White House has defended Trump’s decision to share classified information involving an Islamic State group terror threat related to the use of laptops on aircraft with the Russian foreign minister and Russian ambassador.”
“Such a ban would dwarf in size the current one, which was put in place in March and affects about 50 flights a day from 10 cities, mostly in the Middle East,” AP reports. “There is also the question of the relative safety of keeping a large number of electronics with lithium batteries, which have been known to catch fire, in the cargo area. IATA proposed more in-depth pre-flight screening rather than forcing passengers to give up their electronics.”
“Nonetheless, airlines have said it is merely a matter of time before the ban is put in place,” AP reports. “Experts say a bomb in the cabin would be easier to make and require less explosive force than one in the cargo hold. In addition, baggage in cargo usually goes through a more sophisticated screening process than carry-on bags.”
Read more in the full article here.
MacDailyNews Take: As we wrote yesterday:
Here’s an idea: How about spending some money on methods and devices to identify actual laptops from bombs disguised as laptops at check-in? Sheesh, trained dogs can do it, right? … And, forget the terrorists for a second: What happens if just one damaged lithium battery out of hundreds of laptops aboard each flight (too many of them very shoddily-made Windows PCs) decides to ignite in the hold?
Trump administration considers expanding laptop ban in Europe; would cost airline passengers $1.1 billion – May 17, 2017
Trump admin considers widening electronics carry-on ban to European airports; nothing larger than iPhone permitted in cabin – May 11, 2017
US-UK electronic devices ban on planes came after plot to make iPad bomb uncovered – March 27, 2017
Trump administration bans iPads, laptops and other devices in cabin on flights from certain Middle Eastern airports; Britain follows suit – March 21, 2017