Fodor's Travel Talk Forums

Fodor's Travel Talk Forums (
-   Europe (
-   -   Proposed electronics ban and questions about my Kindle (

Iwan2go May 12th, 2017 05:17 PM

Proposed electronics ban and questions about my Kindle
Hi. As many of you have mentioned, the Dept of Homeland Security is considering extending the original ten-country ban regarding on-board electronics to flights originating in Europe. From articles I’ve seen, this - if put into effect - would apply to tablets, iPads, etc.; basically, any electronics larger than a phone.

I understand that security is important, certainly more than me having my iPad, but Drat.

Anyway. I have a new iPad, an old iPad, and an old Kindle reader. It’s not a Kindle Fire - I don’t know what you’d call it, but I bought it in 2011. The “keyboard” has little tiny circular letters to press. Only a sadist would try to type anything on it.

We leave in less than two weeks for Barcelona and Paris, and I don’t want to be left book-less (I downloaded five novels for the trip). My husband says, leave the iPads at home; the ban might be enacted while we’re there, and having it in the luggage is an invitation to lift it. I do have lots on it, emails, FB, photos, etc, so I agree with him - unless I could erase all but the novels? I guess I could go to the Apple Store and do that. OTOH, the Kindle only has novels.

Is there any “security” risk to having a Kindle stolen? I know someone could - gasp - download books, but I don’t know if they could actually buy Amazon stuff. I am totally clueless. Can someone help me?!

Thanks guys. :)

marvelousmouse May 12th, 2017 06:58 PM

Nope, no security risk to having a kindle stolen, unless you can see all of your card info, which you usually can't. I honestly don't think there is much "security" risk to having a laptop stolen unless it isn't password protected. To buy anything on mine, you'd have to know screen password, iTunes Store password, security codes on all of my cards, etc. I wouldn't be worried about the security. The people who would be most worried about security are the people who have the most to protect- basically, business or gov. workers who would be specifically targeted.

so think about it: what on your iPad is really dangerous too you? Naughty pictures? Are you blackmailing people through email? Selling government secrets? Do you keep all of your personal information in a pages document? I mean those things probably sound absurd because they are absurd. if you were really worried about someone accessing your credit card info, what I would do is wipe all credit cards in the device except one that would not impact your trip if you hade to shut it down. Clear your password information, if you keep bank passwords in auto fill.

The only thing I am remotely worried about this ban is not having my iPad to entertain me on the airplane. I can replace my iPad if it's stolen- I have renters insurance. No one is interested in my emails- and I can remotely wipe my iPad anyway the minute the thief connects it to wifi.

And that's assuming people go through luggage to steal stuff. It might happen occasionally but I've never had anything stolen from checked luggage. I stay in hostels and leave my iPad locked in my suitcase and have had no problems there either. I've had a laptop stolen from my apartment (go figure) and the first thing the thief did was wipe it. They usually aren't after personal information. They just was a quick sale.

Also keep in mind that every article I've read has said "certain countries" not all countries. I'm pretty sure Eastern Europe is first on their list. Could be wrong. But I think they'll at least initially start with places that aren't popular or hubs to begin with.

So anyway...If you take your iPad on trips usually and can afford to replace it or have insurance on it...ignore your husband and take the old one with you.

bvlenci May 13th, 2017 02:57 AM

Aren't your iPads password or otherwise protected? I really don't think anyone wants to invest a whole lot of time trying to crack a single device to get access to a single Paypal account, or whatever. It's so easy to get hundreds of them with a single email phishing expedition.

I don't even think anyone wants an older iPad.

If you've downloaded books on your iPad, you can also download them on your phone. I often read books on my phone, and it's a smaller than average phone.

Trophywife007 May 13th, 2017 05:55 AM

I seem to remember that you can set a password on the Kindle Keyboard model. You might google how to do that. If a Kindle is stolen you can unregister it by logging in to your account at Amazon.

Heimdall May 13th, 2017 06:13 AM

Were it me I would definitely bring my Kindle, even if I had to pack it in checked luggage. Put the Kindle app on your phone so you can continue reading while on the airplane.

I originally bought my Kindle for travel, but have become so addicted to it I also use it for reading at home. When I go out for appointments etc, I read the Kindle book on my iPhone, which automatically synchs to the page I was reading.

Iwan2go May 13th, 2017 09:04 AM

Thanks, everyone! I appreciate your information. If I take the Kindle I’ll put a password on it (I already have one on the iPad). I’ll let you know what we decided and check back in when we get back.

scrb11 May 13th, 2017 09:29 AM

You can turn on Find Your iPhone for your new iPad.

Even if it's stolen, they can't get into it or use it if it's running the latest OS.

They would have to have your Apple ID (the one you log into iCloud with) in order to be able to unlock the iPad and reinstall the OS to be able to use it themselves.

There are also security settings for automatically deleting all the data after someone enters an incorrect pass code 10 times.

What would probably happen, if your iPad is stolen, is someone will try to email you with a link to a website which is a fake iCloud or other Apple site.

The goal is that they're trying to get you to enter your Apple ID and password, so they can unlock your stolen iPad or iPhone, to use it themselves. Otherwise, it's of no use to them.

Google or go to the Apple Store and ask them about these security settings, activating Find your iPhone for your iPad and 2 factor authentication for your Apple ID.

Christina May 13th, 2017 10:25 AM

I wouldn't fret about this so much until something actually happens, what's the point of worrying over every detail.

A Kindle reader does not have a keyboard for use as a computer. I know because I have one (a Kindle Paperwhite). The only time the tiny keyboard appears is if you want to put something in the search box, which I've never done but presume it just searches your libary or searches Amazon for books with that term.

<<The only thing I am remotely worried about this ban is not having my iPad to entertain me on the airplane>>

Seriously, this is a "worry" for you? that you have no way to pass time or entertain yourself unless you have access to an iPad? Find some new interests or how to read.

vincenzo32951 May 13th, 2017 10:37 AM

>>A Kindle reader does not have a keyboard for use as a computer.<<

The old ones do.

marvelousmouse May 13th, 2017 11:09 AM

Gee, thanks, Christina. What hobbies do you suggest?

To lose access to my ipad is certainly not an enormous problem, but I'm a voracious reader and having to pack multiple physical books again instead of one ipad would be very, very annoying.

amyb May 13th, 2017 11:19 AM

<<The Kindle reader does not have a keyboard for use as a computer. I know because I have one (a Kindle Paperwhite). The only time the tiny keyboard appears is if you want to put something in the search box>>

Actually you're wrong there, Christina. The Kindle Paperwhite I have can surf the web and access email. Granted, it's an antiquated experience, but it still can. Surprised that you don't know that, as you know everything.

I agree with marvelousmouse, as long as I've had it, I've loaded my iPad with mutliple books as well as guidebooks (for reference at night in the hotel room) and never carry books any longer. Saves lots of space in carry-on and lets me give up on a bad book rather than be stuck with it for the duration of my trip.

Heimdall May 13th, 2017 11:45 PM

Amyb, I have a Paperwhite as well, and snych the books on my iPad and iPhone. If/when the airlines ban all devices larger than phones in the cabin, then I will have to read books on the iPhone, then worry that the battery will run out before I can charge it again. I think I will bring along one paper book to read on the airplane.

I used to stuff my suitcase full of books on every trip, then abandon the ones I finished and didn't want to keep.

xyz123 May 14th, 2017 01:48 AM

If this ban goes through, there will be lots of stolen laptops. That's for sure.

sparkchaser May 14th, 2017 03:24 AM

<i>A Kindle reader does not have a keyboard for use as a computer. </i>

I guess it depends on what your definition of "computer" is.

vincenzo32951 May 14th, 2017 04:52 AM

As I mentioned on another thread, one of my main reasons for buying a Kindle was so that I wouldn't have to lug newspapers and books on trips and long flights. Reading the NY Times Sunday edition on the Kindle is s-o-o-o-o-o much better than wrestling with the paper edition on a plane, and lots cheaper, too.

One other thing: The newer low-budget model of a Kindle isn't really much bigger than some of the cell phones on the market today.

thursdaysd May 14th, 2017 05:19 AM

"And that's assuming people go through luggage to steal stuff. It might happen occasionally but I've never had anything stolen from checked luggage."

It has never happened to me either, but that's because I've never put anything worth stealing in checked luggage. However, the notion that it is rare is naive:

This is from the WSJ in 2014, the rest is behind a pay wall: "Airlines, airports, police and the Transportation Security Administration are all trying to tighten up to curb the persistent problem of luggage looting."

Getting your luggage wrapped in plastic may help, if your departure airport has the service, but it's not free, and it's not clear to me whether TSA agents are entitled to cut it (I would expect they are, since they are allowed to break locks).

Nikki May 14th, 2017 05:37 AM

Many people have bought such devices for the purpose of travel. Not because they couldn't read but because this enabled them to read more and pack less. And the ipad is invaluable for me on long trips. I can catch up on the online courses and lectures I follow, for which a long plane ride is the perfect time, as well as many other uses.

But I can't help but wonder how people who use the flight as work time and count on their laptops to get their work done are going to adjust to such a ban. It seems to me that they are the ones who would be the most affected.

marvelousmouse May 14th, 2017 07:39 AM

Yeah, I don't think the plastic would have helped stop that guy.

The most worrisome thing in that article is about their problematic background checks on their employees:(

scdreamer May 14th, 2017 08:10 AM

As far as a Kindle goes, I would imagine it's pretty low on the list of desirable theft-worthy items in checked luggage. Triple wrap it in your dirty clothes, and I bet you'll be safe.

From what I am hearing, this ban will be so disruptive to business travelers - the ones whose companies spend the big bucks to fly - that even if it is enacted, it won't be long before a new security method is implemented to allow electronics back on aircraft. They are already talking about swabbing very item for chemical/explosive residue, although that would be quite cumbersome and time-consuming.

(Hmmm ... I wonder if they will allow business class and above to bring electronics first, while they figure out how to speed up the new security?)

It's really Spy v Spy ... each side is one step ahead for a short time, and then it reverses.

thursdaysd May 14th, 2017 08:25 AM

"Triple wrap it in your dirty clothes"

Doesn't help if the thief works security, it will show up on Xray. But I agree that it is not a particularly desirable target.

scrb11 May 14th, 2017 10:37 AM

"It's really Spy v Spy ... each side is one step ahead for a short time, and then it reverses."

Or it's just scaremongering, the same motivations as the Muslim ban -- the ban on people, not electronics on flights from Muslim nations.

NewbE May 14th, 2017 11:22 AM

Good post, Nikki.

Personally, I don't worry about having an easily replaced item stolen. Your data--photos, emails, etc.--isn't on your iPad, it's on the cloud, so you'll be out just the device. That is annoying, but not disastrous, and unlikely (statistically) in any event.

I wouldn't put a laptop in checked luggage, however, because of the jostling. And I do wonder how business travelers will cope.

Trophywife007 May 15th, 2017 02:49 PM

>The most worrisome thing in that article is about their problematic background checks on their employees:( <

Which brings up the point of how they do or don't check the ground crew/TSA personnel. They're so busy checking passengers going in the front door while at the same time leaving the back door wide open. I wouldn't mind security theatre as much if I knew that all background employees were heavily screened and checked, too.

NewbE May 15th, 2017 07:34 PM

How do you know they're not? I assume that the governments of the world aren't required to run their procedures by you, although I suppose I could be wrong about that.

thursdaysd May 15th, 2017 08:13 PM

"How do you know they're not?" - I thought it was well known that ground staff are not required to go through

Really annoyed the air crew, who do have to undergo screening:

thursdaysd May 15th, 2017 08:15 PM

Hit the wrong key...

Should have read:

"How do you know they're not?" - I thought it was well known that ground staff are not required to go through TSA screening, although it seems there has been some tightening up lately.

NewbE May 16th, 2017 08:04 AM

TSA? So just in the US?

My point is that this sort of bewaring goes on around here without a lot of facts to back it up. Theft from checked luggage may or may not be a big issue, we just don't know, because most people don't check their valuables.

We may be about to find out.

xyz123 May 16th, 2017 08:07 AM

There's a reason many have nicknamed Heathrow as Thiefrow.

thursdaysd May 16th, 2017 11:01 AM

@NewBe - So when the Wall Street Journal writes about "the persistent problem of luggage looting" you decide they are fantasizing?

NewbE May 16th, 2017 12:41 PM

No need to get defensive, just provide a link, please. So far, all I see here is anecdotal.

thursdaysd May 16th, 2017 01:01 PM

I already did, on May 14. Try reading the whole thread.

NewbE May 16th, 2017 01:20 PM

Try getting a life, lol.

annhig May 16th, 2017 02:18 PM

I have an ancient kindle [not sure of the model, it has no backlight though] and despite masochistic [rather than sadistic] tendencies, I have never yet managed to send an email on it, though it does have the facility for me to do so, because the keyboard is so incredibly difficult to use.

You can receive emails on it though, which is where the danger lies I suppose.

sparkchaser May 17th, 2017 02:27 AM

<i>...which is where the danger lies I suppose</i>

How exactly?

hetismij2 May 17th, 2017 11:10 AM

There will be no ban on electronics on flights from Europe for at least another week.
European countries are still not convinced of the risk, and whether it outweighs the risk of Lithium batteries in the hold, or of a bomb in a laptop in the hold.
There will be more talks next week in Washington.

Dukey1 May 17th, 2017 12:34 PM

Actually for at least one poster on this thread the "real danger" is writing a trip report and having that poster tell you all the things you should have done, how THEY did it, and how much BETTER it was.

I let you guess who that person might be. Worrying about a Kindle is nothing compared to that experience I can assure you.

annhig May 17th, 2017 01:05 PM

You can receive emails on it though, which is where the danger lies I suppose.>>

because the kindle could in theory be sent an email that could activate something else electronically is my guess.

thursdaysd May 17th, 2017 01:16 PM

No, nothing to do with emails. See, e.g.

scrb11 May 17th, 2017 01:32 PM

EU and US DHS officials met in Europe today.

Nothing to announce, just a joint communique that they will meet again in DC next week.

One big pushback from the EU is that they don't want all those lithium batteries in the cargo hold.

Supposedly this intel that is driving this decision has to do with the 2015 Russian jet which was downed by a bomb over Egypt and a soda can bomb that was detonated somewhere in the ME or Africa.

So no country chose to do anything with this until the Trump administration.

marvelousmouse May 17th, 2017 01:46 PM

I get the laptop issue but an iPad mini (or game console) is not much bigger than an oversized cell phone. So I'm not buying size argument. Of course I don't really buy that fluids pose a huge risk either. fine line between smart and crazy when it comes to TSA...

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 06:57 PM.