I’ve always wondered why a notebook PC has to be pulled out of your bag and scanned, and yet an iPad doesn’t. These days a smart phone or an iPad could cause as much damage as a laptop, programmatically or even by taking out parts and replacing them with explosives. An article in the New York Times investigated this, and found:
- The TSA said “electronic items may stay in the bag if they are smaller than the “standard-sized laptop.” Laptops and larger electronics should come out so that screeners can get a better look at them and see more easily into the rest of the bag.” Clear as mud. That was clarified “With those rules in mind, the 11″ model of the MacBook Air is fine to leave in your bag, and the 13″ model must be removed prior to X-ray screening.” Well that clears things up.
- A security expert who could not be named said “that the laptop rule is about appearances, giving people a sense that something is being done to protect them. “Security theater,” he called it.”
Now that I believe.
Reminds me of travelling just after 9/11, and an enthusiastic airport security person asked me to pull out my folding Palm keyboard and insisted I turn it on. It took a while to get him to believe it was not a computer and it wasn’t powered and it was of zero security concern.
In that case it was ignorance at play, but now I see “security theater” played out everywhere, and not just with inspecting some tech equipment.