In the wake of the latest act of terrorism attempted on a US airplane, the TSA has enacted what appear to be deliberately unpredictable new security measures that seem to include a complete ban on the use of electronics like the iPhone or iPod touch, and even the use of the bathroom for the last hour of any plane trip in-bound to the US.
"Seem" is the operative word, as there looks to still be a lot of confusion as to how, when, and where the new policies are being implemented. We could joke about all this making by old publishing to keep books relevant, or the train and automobile industry to stop the skies being so friendly, but missed flights and connections, mass confusion and sustained minor panic aren't too terribly funny. Likewise we'll side step the whole "eternal vigilance" vs. "deserve neither" debate.
The current policies seem to be effective until Jan. 1, 2010, and then we'll see what happens next. With gadget-lovers coming into the US for CES in just over a week, and with no doubt plenty of Americans with return flights planned from the Vancouver Olympics (and countless other places) thereafter, let's hope everything stays safe and and secure while returning as quickly as possible to functionality.
Meanwhile, Gizmodo has the TSA memo which basically lays out that if you don't run your own country, get in line way early and be prepared for anything. You'll likely get patted down once or twice. Your carry-on baggage may be restricted to one item and will be visually inspected. You'll likely not be able to use any electronics or go to the bathroom for the last hour of the flight. The in-flight entertainment system may be completely shut down, or may just not show live location information or news. Everyone is going to be tired, frustrated, and on edge.
[Much of this via PCMag's @saschasegan who's doing a great job passing along information via Twitter]