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Transportation Data Storage Security Hardware

What To Do If the Laptop Ban Goes Global (backchannel.com) 344

"The U.S. is reportedly seriously considering a greatly expanded ban on laptops in airplane cabins," writes Slashdot reader mirandakatz -- sharing some advice from Dan Gillmor. If the government still allows laptops to be checked in with luggage, "the priority will be to discourage tampering and mitigate the risks associated with theft," he writes, envisioning that "If I have to check mine, I'll pack it in bubble wrap and tape, and do some other things to make it evident if someone has tampered with the machine." But of course there's other precautions: [W]e can travel with bare-bones operating system setups, with as little personal or business data as possible (preferably none at all) on the laptop's internal disk drive. When we arrive and get back online, we can work mostly in browsers and retrieve what we need from cloud storage for the specific applications that have to run "locally" on the PC... You might also get a Chromebook for international travel. Chromebooks run Google's Chrome operating system and keep pretty much all data in Google's cloud. So you could carry a bare Chromebook through a border, go online, and retrieve the information you need. You have to completely trust Google with this method...

[The article also suggests encrypting the hard disk -- along with your phone -- or carrying an external drive.] I use the Ubuntu operating system, and this simplifies creating a special travel setup. In preparation for international hassles, I've put a copy of my OS and essential data files on an encrypted USB thumb drive, which holds 256 gigabytes of data... If I've forgotten to load some specific files, and I have them backed up in the cloud, I can always go there.

Because of all the additional security procedures, he utlimately predicts higher ticket prices, fewer business travellers, and, according to Bruce Schneier, "a new category of 'trusted travelers' who are allowed to carry their electronics onto planes."
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What To Do If the Laptop Ban Goes Global

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  • Theft and Damage (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 04, 2017 @11:09AM (#54546065)

    Honestly, who the heck trusts that their laptop would not be seriously damaged or stolen if they check it in their baggage? I've had things that were MUCH LESS fragile than a laptop completely destroyed in checked baggage.

    • by jfdavis668 ( 1414919 ) on Sunday June 04, 2017 @11:27AM (#54546189)
      I check my laptop in my baggage every time I fly overseas. I'm not interested in working on the flight. Never had a problem with it. You do have to properly pack it. I have a case specifically made to pack it into your luggage for protection. You can't just throw it on top and close the bag and expect it to survive.
      • Re:Theft and Damage (Score:5, Informative)

        by Known Nutter ( 988758 ) on Sunday June 04, 2017 @11:42AM (#54546291)
        Agreed. I put my laptop it its bag -- one of those thick ass Dell bags -- and toss it into my luggage. I've never had an issue.
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by thegarbz ( 1787294 )

        Never had a problem with it.

        The correct phrase is "Haven't had a problem yet". The more your fly the more likely you'll end up hitting that wonderful statistics of over 10,000 claims against the TSA for stolen checked baggage items per year.

        But really I bet the insurance companies are rubbing their hands together at the prospect of people literally fearing checking items into baggage. Hell given the actual state of my suitcases some times I doubt anything that isn't soft cloth can survive some of those idiots.

        Then you end up with stor

    • That's if you're lucky enough to ever see it again.

    • If this goes into effect, I'll get a hard case that's form-fitting for the laptop, and a larger hard case that and other things go into.

      They are virtually indestructible, and if you have a good lock on them extremely hard to open. I had someone try, and fail to pry both locks off a hard case in Botswana.

      Outside the US you can use non TSA locks which are much more secure.

      Also in addition, foreign airports with questionable luggage handling security offer a plastic wrap service, that wraps a bunch of layers

      • The airlines at least around here (Canada) are now charging $50 for the first checked bag, $75 for each additional. EACH WAY. The level of packaging you're talking about would take up most of a checked bag.
      • If it's that difficult, how do you open it at your destination?

    • Just a few years ago a MAFIA ring exactly doing that was arrested.
      They had stollen millions of dollars worth of cameras, laptops, money, jewlary from air plane cargo.
      Of course they were employees of the relevant air lines.

  • by religionofpeas ( 4511805 ) on Sunday June 04, 2017 @11:10AM (#54546067)

    My plan is to avoid travel by plane as much as I can. And if I really have to travel, then I'm going to leave my laptop at home. I don't trust the baggage handlers not to steal it, so checking in is not an option.

    • by shmlco ( 594907 ) on Sunday June 04, 2017 @11:20AM (#54546133) Homepage

      Sounds like an opportunity for some enterprising company to offer laptop rentals at airports. Pick it up when you arrive, drop it back off on the return.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Hognoxious ( 631665 )

        The TSA could run it using the ones they've stolen.

        Obviously it would require some record keeping in case someone actually gets their own machine back and makes a fuss, not that anything would happen because even cardboard cops are part of the ingroup..

      • by PolygamousRanchKid ( 1290638 ) on Sunday June 04, 2017 @11:36AM (#54546255)

        Sounds like an opportunity for some enterprising company to offer laptop rentals at airports.

        Some airline is already experimenting with providing laptop loaners for free to business and first class passengers.

        Of course, most corporate IT Security folks would rightly ban that for their employees. Given the amount of industrial and personal espionage performed by the NSA, CIA and their pals . . . most folks should just stay away from this anyway.

        Hmmm . . . maybe airlines need to offer more options for passengers willing to pay more for tickets? Like, Muslims are banned, but laptops are allowed (the Trump policy) . . . ? No screaming babies or fat folks blubbering over to your side of the seat . . . ?

        Banning laptops is not going to "fly well." Business folks, who make more profits for the airlines will cut back on flying. A monthly intercontinental trip will become a quarterly one. When their profits are hurt, the airlines will shit-can the laptop ban.

        • by dgatwood ( 11270 )

          Some airline is already experimenting with providing laptop loaners for free to business and first class passengers.

          What!?! How could a loaner laptop be even slightly useful? Nearly everything I do with my laptop requires installing hundreds of dollars in software, much of which allows a limited number of installations, thus making it infeasible to install it on a loaner even if I wanted to. And even if I could get past the installation limit, it would still take the better part of an hour with a fast In

          • Swap the SSD.

            With Linux you can take the hard drive out of one machine and run it on another. It need not be the same model even. Kernel modules will be dynamically loaded for the hardware detected at boot.

      • by what about ( 730877 ) on Sunday June 04, 2017 @11:49AM (#54546329) Homepage

        How do you know what OS / backdoor is on that laptop/device ?
        It is already a huge burden to have a minimum level of privacy on "random" devices.
        A device that is specifically given to foreign visitors is surely going to be snooped upon.

        So far, the USB computer on a stick is still the best bet.

        • by dknj ( 441802 )

          you don't. but that won't stop company CEOs seeing it and thinking "this is a wonderful way to continue productivity!" and sign up for it en masse. haven't you learned that stupid ideas are the most profitable and thus have the most support?

          -dk

      • by AHuxley ( 892839 )
        Most nations security services would load that up with their own hardware. Even with a new OS, that service will be logging everything.
        Or be waiting for it to show on any of their national networks for later inspection and access.
        • Put your favourite live distro on a usb stick. Boot from that, or if you're there more than a few days install it over the existing OS.

          • I thought exactly what you did, live USB stick. Then i thought about what GP said

            Most nations security services would load that up with their own hardware.

            There is really no way to get past a HW key logger with software. And if its encrypted, they get not only your physical passwords, but also they keys in memory. Hardware that is not your own is not to be trusted.

      • What good will that do anyone? I'd certainly never trust entering my passwords into the likes of a rented laptop. Neither should anyone else.
    • Since this only applies to flights to foreign countries, it's hard to avoid travel by plane. Not many steamship lines still in existence.
    • by shmlco ( 594907 ) on Sunday June 04, 2017 @11:26AM (#54546175) Homepage

      Also, stuff like this is just going to push development of autonomous vehicles and their use for business travel and vacation travel even faster.

      Won't help for really long-distance or overseas travel, of course, but for regional travel why not bypass all of the airport/airline/TSA BS?

      Get in your car the night before, tell it to take you to some other city, then take a nap and wake up when you get there. No lines, no security, and no having to get to the airport two hours ahead of time "just in case"... only to find your flight's been delayed two hours.

    • by Alypius ( 3606369 ) on Sunday June 04, 2017 @12:50PM (#54546603)
      For domestic flights, you could always check your laptop with your firearm (even a starter pistol qualifies). The items in the case are inventoried at both ends of the flight and the law requires a keyed padlock (no TSA locks).
      • by quetwo ( 1203948 ) on Sunday June 04, 2017 @06:27PM (#54548109) Homepage

        I used to fly with a flare gun all the time in my checked luggage. Flare guns are allowed in every state (and even traveling to Canada), require no permits and allow you to follow the TSA "gun" policy. My lock, hard-sided case, fully real-time traceable, and if the airline looses it, they get fined $250,000 -- so they make sure they actually keep track of it. It takes an additional 5 minutes to check-in, and most of the time your luggage will be first off with somebody waiting with it (except for the smallest airports, where you have to go to the luggage office to sign for it). No additional cost to do it except for Spirit.

        • That is probably an excellent solution. Unfortunately if the practice becomes well known, authorities will counter with methods to defeat it. A simple regulation requiring only firearms and/or ammunition in the case would be all it would take.

          Great ideas, in the internet age, are best kept to yourself. The better the idea, the faster it becomes well known, and the sooner it is countered. Your best approach would be to continue with your practice but tell no one, so that you may continue to use it in the fut

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      My plan is to avoid travel by plane as much as I can.

      This is the only possible response. I'd like to say that the US can't possibly be that stupid as it will seriously hurt business, but since 2001 the US has proven that there's no levels of stupid that it won't try.

      It's not just laptops--it's anything bigger than a cell phone. Sure, it's possible to work with a cell phone under certain fairly limited circumstances, but it's ridiculous to have to as well. There's no way I'd travel for business or even personal reasons if I can't have a notebook with me.

      Ch

  • Useless suggestions (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    None of this will work with BIOS malware installed over ThunderBolt. Who knows what software attacks we don't know about yet. Glitter nail polish is fun and "cool story, bro," but why do you think tamper-proofing works on an adversary with unlimited time and tool-funding to attack your specific model, and, for example, how do you expect to tamper-proof your keyboard?

    These responses aren't threat-proportionate. If the laptop has been out of your physical control it's less trustworthy. If it's been out of

    • by dgatwood ( 11270 ) on Sunday June 04, 2017 @06:09PM (#54548031) Homepage Journal

      That's why, as someone else already mentioned, the right workaround (ignoring the huge inconvenience of not being able to work during the flight itself) would be to buy a gun (even a starter pistol) and store it (properly declared and unloaded) in a checked lockbox along with your laptop.

      Of course, if everyone who owned a laptop did this, the TSA would probably implode from the extra workload of handling that many hand inspections, but that's not my problem; that's something for the total newbie TSA people who naïvely proposed a no-laptops-onboard policy to solve.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    If the explanation about a risk from laptops were the real reason for the ban, then the obvious solution would be to remove all of the Li-ion batteries from the laptops and to ban ALL electronics including iPhone 8+ and Samsung 8+ which do not have removable batteries and yet which are dangerous enough according to EgyptAir Flight 804 in 2016 [slashdot.org].

    But that solution is not being used. Therefore, the real reason cannot be about protecting the planes. The real reason is more likely something to do with wanting to h

  • just take the PC (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ooloorie ( 4394035 ) on Sunday June 04, 2017 @11:23AM (#54546147)

    You can travel with something like an Intel NUC Skull Canyon or a Compute Stick and just plug it into the hotel TV's HDMI port. No laptop battery, no fire hazard, etc. Or you can simply use your phone as a computer and plug it into an HDMI port.

    You can carry sensitive data on a separate micro-SD card, which, realistically, airport security or passport control won't look for or find unless you're already on a terrorist watch list, in which case a laptop ban is the least of your worries.

    • by AHuxley ( 892839 ) on Sunday June 04, 2017 @11:56AM (#54546371) Homepage Journal
      The security services usually have that smart TV loaded with some extras in most nations. Mic, camera or just looking for the data connection.
      That smart TV is the perfect way to see what a guest does, what data they look at, images, movies.. or to turn on a mic/camera if they have guests to talk to their fellow workers on the same trip.
    • by Misagon ( 1135 )

      That won't always work. Not all hotels use regular TVs but often special-purpose hotel TVs with special hotel functions such as info channel and pay-per-view etc. These often have no ports - only a single fixed cable at the back going into the wall.

      Many older hotels are also stuck with standard-definition or 720p TVs. I have even encountered that the TV on a 4.5 star hotel had a broken cable.

      And ... most hotel TVs are stuck on the wall pretty high, sometimes far from power sockets so you would have to bring

  • by 140Mandak262Jamuna ( 970587 ) on Sunday June 04, 2017 @11:27AM (#54546195) Journal
    It is will just erode the market share of laptops. We really don't need lug around a keyboard, screen, pointing device and a battery anymore. Just a simple nexus-4 sized pack with memory and cpu. Docking stations that can take this device and add a keyboard, mouse, pointing device and a screen will hit the market. Hotels will provide it, may be for a fee, may be free. We will have one dock at work and one at home. We might buy and keep more such docks for visitors and guests. This is going to be the future. Will happen whether laptops get banned on planes or not. If laptop ban goes global this will accelerate the timeline.
    • This is exactly Microsoft's plan. New ARM processors are fast and versatile enough such that a small mobile device will work as a normal computer for most every person. No other firm has seen this coming.

    • by AHuxley ( 892839 )
      Any provided device waiting at a hotel would usually be altered by the security services. They have a while given the arrival data, reservations to get any devices in the room ready. If the room is changed, they can enter later and activate the same collection.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 04, 2017 @01:28PM (#54546813)

      And when I need to work at a client, I need their docking station, with complementary keylogger.

      And when I need to work around without stopping at a hotel I need to take with me the docking station (lol)

      No, laptops are not going anywhere. The only reason the sales are down is because we are hitting the "good enough" target with 4-5 year products, a 3 year laptop is not crap anymore.

      Not to mention the absurdity of trying to work on a mobile operating system. You want me to work on android? ios? it's a joke, right?

  • easy to remove hdd / ssd card is needed now apple better keep this in mind.

    • That's exactly what I'd do. There is no law against carrying a 3.5" HDD/SDD in your shirt pocket.

    • I mostly do this now - when traveling for pleasure, I only bring a cheap Chromebook so that if it is lost/stolen I just buy a new Chromebook locally and move on with life. For business I bring a company laptop, but my data is all backed up so a loss/theft would be a PITA but once on the VPN with a local laptop I'd be back in business.

  • by fustakrakich ( 1673220 ) on Sunday June 04, 2017 @11:37AM (#54546273) Journal

    Or we could elect a different class of politicians instead of following blind tribalism. Sorry, but all this is self inflicted, and every chance they have, the voters only make it worse.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I'm not entirely convinced that a different administration would have done things differently on this one thing.

      Every administration is afraid of getting the next big terror attack pinned on them. Politicians are motivated by fear as well as voters.

      I'm pretty sure this is why Obama ended up continuing or even expanding surveillance despite his earlier criticism of it. It's not that he suddenly loved surveillance, it's that once he was the one who'd be left holding the bag if something bad happened, his prio

  • TBH, laptops aren't something you should travel with anyway. All of your data and personal info is at risk anytime you connect to a hotel wifi. I never travel with my computer or use a public computer with any personal info, logins/passwords...etc.

    Even traveling with your phone is a bad idea now that it can be 100% copied by gov'ts as you go through airports. Just lock all your electronic stuff up at home and unplug for a vacation.

    If you're traveling on business none of your own personal stuff should be on

    • ...We're at a kind of transition point for electronics anyway. Pretty soon we'll become very untethered from devices and be able to use our own information safely from anywhere without it getting compromised.

      And how exactly will we become "untethered" from devices? You will need some kind of device to access your information, and devices will continue to be compromised, either by suppliers continuing to prioritize profits over secure designs, or by consumers exercising their right to not give a shit about security, and use poor practices.

      One of the simplest ways to secure data would be encrypting a thumb drive. 95% of consumers don't know how to do this today, and don't care to take the time or effort to lear

      • by mfh ( 56 )

        And how exactly will we become "untethered" from devices?

        Probably some kind of subcutaneous chip with your encrypted credentials that allows access to your encrypted data remotely and could be bricked with a single thought if there was impending risk of intrusion.

        Another way is if we start using avatars of ourselves for business travel; beam a holographic AI-driven avatar of yourself to whatever business meeting you must attend and skip the queue at the airport! I mean there really is no need for travel apa

    • by mark-t ( 151149 )

      If you're traveling on business none of your own personal stuff should be on there anyway and insurance would cover the loss of any laptop from damage during checking it in.

      Which is fine, unless you are the owner of said business... and do you seriously think that the insurance against theft or damage during flights is going to be cheap?

  • by AHuxley ( 892839 ) on Sunday June 04, 2017 @11:46AM (#54546309) Homepage Journal
    Fly without a laptop. Arrive in the destination nation. Find a computer shop. Buy new ssd like media. Buy a new laptop that can have its installed ssd replaced.
    Remove the factory ssd.
    Update, install the productivity apps needed using a very secure VPN.
    Use open source OS or a new copy of Windows 10.
    Do all work with a VPN thats trusted and tested.
    If your company demands you take their special secure "crypto" laptop, its a risk in another nation.
    Do not trust any "cloud" brand, product or crypto service as other nations security services will be expecting that and have accessed it many times before.
    Do not walk out of your hotel without your laptop. Staff will report that to their nations security services and the time will be used to access the laptop and plant gov malware.
    On exit from that nation recycle the hardware after fully removing all data.
    Do not return from any nation with any hardware or software. Ensure any uploads went to a secure VPN on an isolated secure network.
    Even if the VPN fails the other nation gets nothing extra from your secure network or other projects.
    Consider the same for any cell phone. Dont use the cell phone in the other nation for any normal calls or work calls. Buy a local phone only for urgent calls and give your new number via VPN. Expect all numbers called and voice prints to be fully collected by the nations security services.
    If you want to take images of the trip, buy a cheap dslr or buy a much better quality cell phone. Use the card to move images to a different laptop, with a different VPN only to send images from.
    Dont mix work files and another nations cell phone. Dont take the cell phone back with you. Dont mix the images with any other networks, data later.
    • Fly without a laptop. Arrive in the destination nation. Find a computer shop. Buy new ssd like media. Buy a new laptop that can have its installed ssd replaced. Remove the factory ssd. Update, install the productivity apps needed using a very secure VPN. Use open source OS or a new copy of Windows 10. Do all work with a VPN thats trusted and tested. If your company demands you take their special secure "crypto" laptop, its a risk in another nation. Do not trust any "cloud" brand, product or crypto service as other nations security services will be expecting that and have accessed it many times before. Do not walk out of your hotel without your laptop. Staff will report that to their nations security services and the time will be used to access the laptop and plant gov malware. On exit from that nation recycle the hardware after fully removing all data. Do not return from any nation with any hardware or software. Ensure any uploads went to a secure VPN on an isolated secure network. Even if the VPN fails the other nation gets nothing extra from your secure network or other projects. Consider the same for any cell phone. Dont use the cell phone in the other nation for any normal calls or work calls. Buy a local phone only for urgent calls and give your new number via VPN. Expect all numbers called and voice prints to be fully collected by the nations security services. If you want to take images of the trip, buy a cheap dslr or buy a much better quality cell phone. Use the card to move images to a different laptop, with a different VPN only to send images from. Dont mix work files and another nations cell phone. Dont take the cell phone back with you. Dont mix the images with any other networks, data later.

      Your recommendations include buying hardware while in another country. What the hell makes you think you can trust a foreign hardware vendor? If you're this paranoid, it would be easier to travel with known hardware and use strong encryption, hardware firewalls, and strong VPN services.

      Also, more and more electronics are being made in a sealed form factor, thus there are no removable components like SSDs.

      • "What the hell makes you think you can trust a foreign hardware vendor?"

        The same thing that makes you think you can trust a domestic vendor. ;-)

  • somebody will make laptop rental services, and with the cloud all your data is an internet connection away, all laptops are wiped of any personal information upon return to the rental outlet,
    • all laptops are wiped of any personal information upon return to the rental outlet,

      Except for the keylogger deeply embedded in the system, of course.

  • Insofar as the Intel Compute Card was a solution looking for a problem, this might be a problem it could be a solution for, though a little more heavy-weight then just taking a SD card or USB stick.

  • why don't we pay the folks handling our luggage enough that they don't feel it's worthwhile to steal anything of value that passes their hands? Yeah, yeah, I know. Crazy, right? And before you say "I fly internationally" well, they can pay people better in other countries too, ya know?
    • by guruevi ( 827432 )

      So how much would they have to pay YOU not to take a multi-thousand dollar item once a day ($1M salaries for luggage handlers?)

  • As absurd as it sounds, this might create a market for new laptop-for-hire businesses.

    • by Dunbal ( 464142 ) *
      I thought of that myself. Such a business would work even better if they received some sort of endorsement from Fortune 500 companies by proving to their IT departments that the machines are up to spec and all data is properly deleted on return.
  • by zmooc ( 33175 )

    Start a laptop rental business.

  • If only Chromebooks came with a shell of some kind and a way to run Eclipse, I'd buy one as a throw away item.
    • Terminal problem is pretty well solved: termux, crosh, and others.
      Eclipse isn't likely to ever happen unless someone ports it to asm.js, poor alternatives: Codiad, Project Orion, codenvy.io, and others.
      Going into dev mode and installing crouton is a good compromise, but then you're really running Linux/Ubuntu/Debian and not ChromeOS.

  • I will sett up laptop renting shops all over the world.
    Hopefully you have a back up of your own that can be accesed remotely or an usb stick with what is relevant for you during travel.
    Probably a bootable usb stick or usb drive would be best.

  • When airline travel becomes (literally) a pain in the ass, teleconferencing will grow big-time.

  • Take it anyway.
  • Cloud computing (Score:4, Interesting)

    by OrangeTide ( 124937 ) on Sunday June 04, 2017 @12:35PM (#54546561) Homepage Journal

    I'll expense a Chromebook or netbook at my trip's destination, or get a loaner from IT if I'm visiting one of my company's sites. I'll throw the Chromebook in the garbage before I leave.
    We beat the terrorist, but add millions of tons of electronics to landfills.

    • by guruevi ( 827432 )

      You know you can wipe those machines pretty effectively these days. No need to trash anything. Just rent your computer, wipe it before your return it.

  • by sanf780 ( 4055211 ) on Sunday June 04, 2017 @12:36PM (#54546565)
    Company broadcasted sevelar months ago that the new policy is to travel with disposable laptops that do not hold any valuable information other than VPN clients. Believe it or not, there are other countries that can and will take your laptop because they think of the children. I mean, those countries do not allow any pornographic material in the country because of reasons. And I am not talking of the US but of some arid country in the middle east, and PRC. It may take weeks for you to recover the laptop.
  • And if my company issued laptop is stolen from checked baggage – on business travel – my company will just have to suck it up I guess.

    Would Twitler listen if all 500 of the Fortune 500 company CEOs told him it's a bad idea?

    After every trip I'll just wipe it and reinstall. I don't keep anything of value on it anyway – the time it takes to do that is pretty negligible.

  • This is what I see happening if the ban goes into affect

    1. traveler needs to register the Laptop with the TSA and pays $, maybe a yearly fee(?)
    2. The TSA takes the device and maybe puts spyware on it along with a 'lock' or 'sticker' or something certifying the laptop is allowed
    3. every so often it can be searched by the TSA or you have to get it re-certified
    4. now you are allowed to take it with you

    If business users are not allowed to work while flying I can see airline profits dropping and airlines complai

  • by Zocalo ( 252965 ) on Sunday June 04, 2017 @02:32PM (#54547133) Homepage
    It's any gear larger than a phone, which means all your expensive cameras and lenses as well. I was hoping to see a few ideas I might not have thought of from fellow photographers already given there's over 100 comments, but since I appear to be the first here's my thoughts for travelling with a backpack's worth of high-end camera gear:

    Firstly, define "global". If we're just talking about any flights flying to/from the US/UK (or any other countries that start doing this), then the obvious initial step is to route around the problem by flying via airports that don't transit the US and UK. If one of your endpoints is in the US/UK, then that's tougher and depends on your location - driving over the Candian or Mexican border may be an option for the US, while for the UK CDG is only a Eurostar and change from London, and Dublin a short trip from Northern Ireland.

    If we *really* mean "global" - e.g. every international flight, regardless of endpoints - or the above is unworkable for any reason, then it's going to have to be a Peli Case [peli.com] or similar, and rolling the dice with theft by airport staff and genuine loss in transit. Where practical, I'd hope to mitigate against that by shipping ahead of time as freight - there's better insurance cover anyway, and I'd expect international couriers to start exploring opportunities in this area to make things easier and more cost effective if the ban does go global. If I do have to travel with the gear, then I'm thinking of going for a padded Pelicase I can just put my regular backpack and a few other items in, which means it's going to be big and heavy and will need to be run though oversize baggage. Actually, I'm probably going to make sure that it does, because while that means special handling and more cost, it also means better tracking and in some instances to put the airline on the hook for the full value of the contents if it goes astray. I'll probably put couple of "Fragile" stickers and maybe some of those impact detection stickers [shockwatch.com] on there as well.

    Finally, and regardless of the above, screw the compromised TSA locks. I use proper padlocks and security gets confronted with an inventory of the case's contents should they decide to bolt-cutter it - good padlocks are not that expensive, and it's a much better deterant against opportunistic theft by anyone with the magic key.

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