July 07, 2014

Newest TSA Worry: Cell Phone Bombs?

Um, how much power could a cell phone pack if it was filled with explosives? Apparently, enough that the TSA might ask you to prove that your phone is really a phone and not, I guess, some kind of bomb:

The TSA is requiring passengers flying to the U.S. from some overseas airports to power up their electronic devices before boarding — or risk having to leave their phones or tablets behind.
News reports have suggested the Department of Homeland Security is increasingly worried that terrorists may use Syria as a base to attack U.S.-bound flights, and the Transportation Security Administration’s decision indicates the agency fears terrorists could turn a phone or tablet into an undetectable bomb.
Intuitively, and based on absolutely no science whatsoever, it just seems like something as small as a cell phone wouldn't be big enough to blow up a plane. But I guess maybe it could cause a hole in the structure leading to rapid decompression? I dunno.

It seems to me that the bigger risk would be using the phone as a detonator, and to control for that you'd have to suppress all cell phone signals. So, I dunno. Thoughts? Is this overkill?

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 01:56 PM | Comments |