Ban on electronic devices Disproportional and Impractical

In a written statement yesterday the Secretary of State for Transport, Chris Grayling, announced a ban on "Phones, laptops and tablets larger than 16.0cm x 9.3cm x 1.5cm in the cabin on flights to the UK from Turkey, Lebanon, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Tunisia."

The United States issued a similar ban earlier in the day. It was not long after that that the UK followed suit, however the UK ban is structured around any inbound flights from the afore mentioned countries rather than specific airports, which is the case with the US ban.

Whilst security is increased on these items coming into the UK, Chris Grayling does state that "These new measures apply to flights into the UK and we are not currently advising against flying to and from those countries." so anyone travelling to any of the countries on the list is still able to do so, and there is no change to the Foreign Office's advice against travelling there.

More specific information about the UK ban can be found here.

David A Elston, Pirate Party UK Acting Leader said:

"Often we are told measures such as banning electronic devices from carry-on luggage is done for our or other's safety. In reality it does quite the opposite. Not being able to keep our data, files and essentially our personal, private and business life safe by having to separate ourselves from our devices makes any data on such devices incredibly vulnerable.

"This poses a real challenge for business professionals travelling to and from the named countries. When the UK Government tried this previously there was a significant increase in reported thefts from checked luggage. At a time where the UK is desperate to show it is open for business, it is at best unwise to place such an obvious problem between making effective business relationships with the named countries.

"This is all aside from the glaringly obvious point that banning communication or work devices, which are as common as pen and paper are these days and forcing passengers to use the cargo area increases their chances of losing such devices, either through theft or lost luggage.

"This creates a problem for insurers and passengers as according to Abta, laptops and tablets aren't typically currently covered by travel insurance policies if carried in the cargo hold, so if any devices do end up going missing passengers may be fully liable for the cost of replacing the missing items.

"Whilst we do of course need to ensure our nations safety and security, with the current Governments long standing policy '...not to comment on intelligence matters.' means they can justify any ban they wish without transparency.

"Clearly there needs to be a requirement of checks and balances in place to ensure this is only done justly and with oversight that we can trust at the time of the action followed up with complete transparency after the event. Without these precautions we will never know if such measures were sufficiently robust to protect us, or were over-reaching and excessive."
About Pirate Party UK

The Pirate Party in the UK is a fledgling political party. It has fielded a few candidates in European and National elections, but like most small parties it is significantly constrained by the UK electoral system. Despite this, the Pirate Party now has a representative in local government and is looking to build support from the grassroots.

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Wednesday, 22 March, 2017 - 18:00
David A Elston

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