great britain has announced a ban on laptops in cabin on arriving flights from six countries. The ban will affect passengers from the Middle East and North Africa. It comes amid fears of possible new terrorist attacks.

The ban comes after US authorities have implemented similar restrictions on arriving flights. Liberal Democrats and computer experts have put the new restrictions into question. The restrictions are likely to cause frustration among passengers.

New restrictions target six countries

The new restrictions imposed by Great Britain will target countries from the Middle East and North Africa: Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Tunisia, and Saudi Arabia.

However, they only extend to direct flights.

The Prime Minister's spokesman has said in an announcement that the safety of travellers is a priority which is why aviation security is under constant review. Due to fears of new terrorist attacks, laptop and iPad use in cabins will be prohibited. This means that all electronic devices, apart from phones, will have to be placed in the hold.

Terrorist threats raised concerns

Last year, a laptop filled with explosives was smuggled onto a flight out of Mogadishu. The attack was plotted by an insurgent group called al-Shabaab. The laptop exploded and blew a hole in the side of the plane, but the pilot managed to land the plane safely. In the recent weeks, it has been revealed that UK security services have stopped 13 potential attacks.

Counter-terrorism units are also running more than 500 investigations.

Liberal Democrat transport spokeswoman, Baroness Randerson, has criticized the new restrictions, saying that countries have been singled out based on religious belief. She also emphasized that terrorist attacks come from the unlikeliest sources and questioned the Government’s reasoning.

Randerson called for the ban to be explained in detail.

Computer experts question the new restrictions

Nicholas Weaver, a researcher at the International Computer Science Institute at the University of California has put the ban into question. According to Weaver, turning a laptop into a bomb would work just as well in the cargo hold.

The attacker would not have to have direct access to the laptop. When it comes to hacking, a modern cellphone can be used as a laptop.

Air industry consultant John Strickland said that the ban will cause frustration for both the airlines and customers. For example, electronic devices are usually not covered by travel insurance if they are placed in the hold. However, Strickland emphasized that security must be put first.