Department of Homeland Security Announces New Security Protocols for Electronic Devices

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Monday, March 27, 2017

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has announced new security protocols impacting the transport and use of electronic devices and related technology.  These new protocols will apply to both personal and University owned resources and equipment. 

The new protocols may impact any University travelers whose itinerary includes any direct travel from, or a transfer through, any of the following 10 airports to the United States:

  • Queen Alia International Airport (AMM) - Jordan
  • Cairo International Airport (CAI) – Egypt
  • Ataturk International Airport (IST) – Turkey
  • King Abdul-Aziz International Airport (JED) – Saudi Arabia
  • King Khalid International Airport (RUH) – Saudi Arabia
  • Kuwait International Airport (KWI) - Kuwait
  • Mohammed V Airport (CMN) – Morocco
  • Hamad International Airport (DOH) – Qatar
  • Dubai International Airport (DXB) - United Arab Emirates
  • Abu Dhabi International Airport (AUH) - United Arab Emirates

Travelers are advised that the new protocols implement more stringent security measures related to the transportation of electronic devices. Specifically, all personal electronic devices larger than a cell phone (e.g. laptops, iPads, tablets, e-readers, cameras, portable DVD players), excluding necessary medical devices, can no longer be carried aboard in carry-on items.  All such items must be secured in the traveler’s checked luggage. For more information, please see the Department of Homeland Security fact sheet which is available online here.

Additional countries have or are considering the issuance of similar restrictions for air transport routing through their own domestic airports.  Note that the list of countries and/or originating airports may not the same for such non-U.S. government restrictions. For instance, the United Kingdom has implemented a similar set of restrictions for all travel routing through any U.K. airport that originates from Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Tunisia and Saudi Arabia. Note that the U.K. restrictions include both Lebanon and Jordan while excluding others covered in the U.S. protocols.

Travelers should keep updated on changes to security and travel requirements for all international destinations and transport hubs through which they will be traveling. Egypt has already imposed a requirement that travelers on direct flights from the U.S. to Egypt will be subject to the similar requirements. In addition, based on security guidance there may be additional limitations imposed for transit through Canada, France and other countries.  A listing of the current airlines impacted by the dual restrictions may be found here.

Individuals traveling with any University owned devices or University data on personal devices are advised to:

  • Consider whether such electronic devices are necessary for their travel, and leave unnecessary devices behind;
  • Remove all controlled, sensitive, or proprietary data and information from devices that is not pertinent to their travel;
  • Consider leaving all data and/or information on network accessible resources and connect remotely to access such data/information using University VPN connections;
  • Encrypt all devices containing any University data/information, especially if you must take sensitive or proprietary data;
  • Choose appropriate, complex passwords for devices and online accounts;
  • Back-up all data prior to departure;
  • Enable remote wiping capabilities, if available, in the event your device is lost or stolen;
  • Ensure that your devices remain fully charged in case you are required to enable it for any customs inspections
  • If you are asked to provide access to any device with controlled, sensitive or proprietary data/information, please contact the University for assistance; and,
  • Have the device scanned by your IT support staff upon return to detect and remove any malicious spyware.

Those individuals traveling with electronic devices that must be stored as checked luggage are advised to plan for safe storage of their devices, including the use of TSA recognized locks for their checked baggage.  Tips for safe travel are available from the TSA website.

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