U.S. bans printer cartridges from in-bound flights

Ink, toner cartridges over 16 ounces prohibited in wake of bombing attempts

This one wasn't difficult to see coming.

The Transportation Safety Administration has just announced a ban on ink and toner cartridges holding more than 16 ounces on flights bound for the U.S. in response to the attempted bombings Oct. 29 that utilized such containers.

In addition, a ban on cargo flights originating in Yemen has been extended to Somalia.

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A statement from Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano reads:

Late last week, TSA directed industry carriers to begin implementing additional precautionary security measures for international flights inbound to the United States. These measures take effect today. Specifically, the ban on air cargo from Yemen will continue and has been extended to all air cargo from Somalia as well. In addition, no high risk cargo will be allowed on passenger aircraft. Toner and ink cartridges over 16 ounces will be prohibited on passenger aircraft in both carry-on bags and checked bags on domestic and international flights in-bound to the United States. This ban will also apply to certain inbound international air cargo shipments as well. Further, all cargo identified as high risk will go through additional and enhanced screening. These measures also impact inbound international mail packages, which must be screened individually and certified to have come from an established postal shipper.

Of course, I cannot remember the last time I packed a printer cartridge for a trip, but I would presume there are those for whom this ban will prove an inconvenience.

Initial public reaction to the news has been as predictable at the TSA's action - ridicule:

"We're banning toner cartridges now? I'm walking everywhere from now on. Traveling in this country is a joke," writes one Twitter user.

"Knowing the TSA, by this time next week they'll ban ballpoint pens," writes another.

One party that may welcome the ban is printer heavyweight Lexmark, which this past summer filed suit against 24 companies it says were importing and selling replacement ink and toner cartridges that violate Lexmark's intellectual property rights. The TSA may have just done the work of an army of lawyers.

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