TSA Bans Ink/Toner Cartridges From Airline Passengers; Wi-Fi Future Uncertain - HotHardware
TSA Bans Ink/Toner Cartridges From Airline Passengers; Wi-Fi Future Uncertain

TSA Bans Ink/Toner Cartridges From Airline Passengers; Wi-Fi Future Uncertain

In the wake of the pair of thwarted bombings by Al Qaeda last month, the TSA has announced additional restrictions and guidelines for passengers traveling both within the United States and internationally. In additional to logical and prudent steps, such as banning packages from Somalia and Yemen (temporarily) and additional screening for packages classified as high risk, there's a new pair of rules that're collectively bizarre. From the DHS press release:

Toner and ink cartridges over 16 ounces will be prohibited on passenger aircraft in both carry-on bags and checked bags on domestic and international flights in-bound to the United States. This ban will also apply to certain inbound international air cargo shipments as well. The Administration is also working closely with industry and our international partners to expedite the receipt of cargo manifests for international flights to the United States prior to departure in order to identify and screen items based on risk and current intelligence. We are also working with our international and private sector partners on the expansion of layered detections system including technology and other measures.

The immediate rationale behind the restrictions is clear. One of the packages withstood multiple passes from Scotland Yard's high-tech scanners and low-tech dogs. If investigators had been unable to provide a specific tracking number to identify the package, it would've been passed and presumably detonated. Both of the bombs were found encased in printer cartridges. Practically speaking, this isn't a restriction that's likely to affect many people. We're fairly certain that most folks don't carry multiple cartridges of black ink stuffed into their pants pockets or strapped to their legs. The wording of the restriction also seems to imply that while no single cartridge can weigh more than 16 oz, multiple 12 oz cartridges would be just fine. Most consumer-oriented print cartridges weigh much less than 16 oz, but higher-end printers often use cartridges that weigh more.

"Limited impact," however, does not equate to "intelligent safety improvement." Presumably, the would-be bombers used print cartridges because they're familiar enough to the eye to pass rote inspection, yet sturdy enough to contain the contents of a bomb as it travels towards its destination. Serviceable items include childrens' toys, external hard drives, and Mrs. Jones' cat.


He doesn't LOOK busy...

More ominously, there are rumors that the TSA is considering banning the use of in-flight WiFi  after useless, SIM-card-lacking cell phones were discovered attached to the toner cartridges in question. No one is arguing that the cell phones could've been detonated by a phone call in flight, but there's the possibility that such a device could be constructed, which may be all the incentive the DHS needs. The appeal of being scattered over twenty square miles of ocean just because a seatmate wanted to check Facebook is admittedly small. The idea that a ban on airplane WiFi would prevent this from occurring is blindingly stupid. Terrorists who found themselves unable to construct complex detonators out of cell phones and WiFi might be forced to wreak havoc with other devices like a thermometer, egg timer, or LED clock.

On a side note, we expect the airline industry would fight tooth and claw to keep in-flight WiFi flowing. It's one of the few services that's begun to turn a profit in recent months and the carriers would be loathe to see it go.

The only thing more dangerous than no security at all is a security system that lulls people into thinking they're safe when they aren't. The more regulations, baggage checks, and clothing-removals the TSA mandates, the greater the divorce between the actual danger and perceived danger of a terrorist attack. 
0
+ -

It's understandable but still ridiculous. Now they're considering banning Wi-Fi from Airplane flights. I understand what the terrorists might do but there are millions of people who are not terrorists who do use Wi-Fi and how can they use Wi-Fi for terrorism if the Wi-Fi is being monitored.

Just because you found some printer cartridges with bombs in them does not mean you gotta take away our internet in the sky.

0
+ -

LOL nice cat, may i keep him/her? :D

Man were they LUCKY... :D

Well i really want to know who needs to carry ink with them on a plane... second, HOW did they find the bomb just because it didn't have a tracking number? because it didn't have a tracking number it had to be opened???

0
+ -

The war on terrorism should be called off. They won.

0
+ -

They haven't won yet but they are sure in the lead and as for the wifi they will just ban the cell phone companies usb wifi you will most likely be able to use the wifi that costs you like 10 bucks once you get in the air.

0
+ -

Wait till someone figures out a Cotton, or Rayon timer. You'll be flying nude.

0
+ -

Certain individuals going through airport security probably didn't think their full body scanner images would show up online, like they did Wednesday.

Here is the proof: Full body scanner images expose private individuals on the web

They were exposed for all the world to see because more than 35,000 images were saved by at a U.S. Marshall's office in Florida. As the body scanning issue as grown more heated, The Transportation Security Administration has been assuring air travelers the pictures are never saved for future prying eyes.

0
+ -

but how will I change the cartages on my printer in flight? 

0
+ -

People act like it's a horrible result that we may not have in flight Wi-Fi anymore!    Yikes!! Indifferent    Gadzooks!! Indifferent

We never had it before, and we got alone just fine without it. So if you're not 'connected' for a flight to somewhere,...is it really such a big deal to you?

Is flying gonna be ruined for you all of a sudden?

I think that we can be spoiled at times in our Hi-tech society.

0
+ -

the terrorists have won they didn't want us to have the freedoms we enjoy and now we don't.  if i was a terrorist i would have my bomb smuggled in my a MacDonalds employee after the security gate then i would have a big mac and an explosive device possible one and the same

0
+ -

What would be the means of transportation for ink refill distributors then? These distributors reach these certain locations because its where their target markets are and for these locations, cheap hp ink cartridges are hard to find.

Login or Register to Comment
Post a Comment
Username:   Password: