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Airport Security Might Ask Travelers To Power Up Cell Phones

The TSA is issuing new rules requiring travelers at some international airports to turn on their electronic devices before boarding their flight.

By Matt Picht | July 6, 2014

By now, most air travelers are used to turning off their cell phones and laptops when they get on the plane — but to make it to the terminal, you might have to reverse your thinking.

The Transportation Security Administration has issued a new security guideline focused on screening electronic devices. Passengers traveling to the U.S. from overseas may now be asked to prove that their electronic devices really work by turning them on. (Via WCCO)

The TSA's official statement reads, "During the security examination, officers may also ask that owners power up some devices, including cell phones. Powerless devices will not be permitted onboard the aircraft. The traveler may also undergo additional screening."

The TSA has had its eye on tech for a long time. A 2012 article in The New York Times notes cell phones, laptops and other electronics can be used as detonators, jamming devices, or storage spaces for bomb components.

Not everyone's happy about the change. The Daily Mail predicts this new decree "is bound to cause chaotic scenes at airports around the globe ... The new measures have the potential to create frantic searches for chargers at airports."

The new measure is part of an effort by the TSA to ramp up security at overseas airports. U.S. officials are concerned terrorists groups in Iraq and Syria are trying to slip a bomb past airport security. (Via ABC)

But Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson told NBC's David Gregory Sunday the increased security was more of a general precaution than a response to a specific threat.

"Our job is to try and anticipate the next attack, not simply react to the last one. ... This is not something to overreact to or overspeculate about, but it's something we feel is necessary."

The TSA has not disclosed which overseas airports the new measures are focused on, or how long they might last.

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