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United States lifts laptop and electronics ban from Middle East flights

Developers and games firms from the region now able to bring the equipment they need into US

The United States government has lifted the restrictions imposed earlier this year preventing passengers from packing laptops, games consoles or other electronics into their hand luggage.

The controversial ban was targeted specifically at people travelling from ten Middle East airports or using nine airlines from that area. While it affected professionals in all kinds of industries, it has proven to be particularly troublesome for game developers and publishers, who need to be able to transport equipment for demonstration purposes - most notably for E3 2017 last month.

TechCrunch reports the US lifted the ban for three major airlines earlier this month and has now removed the restrictions entirely. The Department of Homeland Security has now declared itself satisfied "with enhanced security measures in place".

The ban was originally introduced on the grounds of increasing national security, based on the administration's evaluation of the potential for terrorist threats from the Middle East. A, similar and perhaps more controversial, ban was imposed on all persons travelling from seven predominantly Muslim countries earlier this year.

This affected several developers heading for GDC 2017, with the conference's organisers offering to refund those who were prevented from attending. Unity, meanwhile, promised to fly 50 affected developers to its Unite Europe conference in June - spoke to some of these creators during the event.

TechCrunch notes that a similar laptop ban instigated by the UK on direct flights from the Middle East and North Africa still stands.

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James Batchelor: James is Editor-in-Chief at, and has been a B2B journalist since 2006. He is author of The Best Non-Violent Video Games
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