Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Should I blame the iPad for muddying the waters?

So I went through airport security the other day with my Kindle in my purse, as I have at least a half a dozen times before. But this time, the screener snatched up the tray with my purse and shoes, asked me if I had a Kindle inside, asserted that it had to be screened separately, like a laptop, and did the chemical wipe, rerunning of the whole tray, etc. as I stood there in my socks. Now according to the TSA website, the following things have to be screened separately, or in bags that allow them to be exposed with no additional layers of items:
  • Laptops
  • Full-size video game consoles
  • Full-size DVD players
  • Video cameras that use video cassettes
  • CPAP breathing machines

They note that "[s]mall and portable electronic items do not need to be removed from their carrying cases." A Kindle is not a laptop. It is quite a bit thinner than a netbook, although it is rather larger than a PSP.

They do not pull this nonsense at DCA, which I consider the standard for airport paranoia, nor was it part of the zealous security I encountered in my most recent overseas trip, which involved x-rays of all carry-ons, manual bag checks before boarding, and pat-downs of all passengers. (As well as x-rays of carry-ons after arriving in the country, which I found baffling, and not just because using that machine for departures would have increased their total processing capacity by 50 percent.)

I have heard of four US airports doing this: Bainbridge blogged about his recent experience at LAX. As laptops become smaller, does the scope of what's considered a "small and portable electronic item" become narrower? The whole thing is ridiculous. Some have suggested rebellion against the TSA.

blog comments powered by Disqus