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Trump’s laptop travel restriction is a confusing mess

Last night, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced a decision to ban carry-on laptops and tablets on direct flights from eight Muslim-majority countries: Egypt, Jordan, Qatar, Kuwait, Morocco, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey. Passengers traveling to the US from 10 airports in these countries will be barred from bringing laptops, tablets, or any devices “larger than a cellphone” as carry-on items; they will instead have to take them in checked luggage. It was reported on Tuesday that the UK is implementing a similar electronics ban on flights from some Middle Eastern countries.

The US government’s decision to ban carry-on electronics has sparked criticism, confusion, and a series of pressing questions.

What’s the motivation behind the device ban?

The DHS has described the order as a national security measure, saying that “evaluated intelligence” shows that terrorists are intent on “smuggling explosive devices in various consumer items.” The UK announced their own laptop ban this morning, with security sources telling The Telegraph that they “have seen the same intelligence as their US counterparts.” But Sky News noted that the decision was made in response to “the general threat of terrorism.”


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