Laptop selected for secondary

Old Jun 17, 2019, 5:09 am
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Laptop selected for secondary

Odd one this morning at LHRT5 security. Having carefully separated my bags and stuff, my laptop (on its own in a tray) was selected for secondary screening.
Cue much puzzlement on the part of the security operatives: “What’s that there for?”, said one, peering at the screen, trying to work out why it had been diverted.
“Oh just swab it.”, said another one.
More screen peering, as I stand around doing my best not to look suspicious.

“Maybe I’ll need to switch it on?”, I thought. But no, he then hunted around for a swab, did the business and sent me on my way!

Random? Someone pressed the wrong button? Glitch in the matrix?

Chris
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Old Jun 17, 2019, 5:13 am
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random - it happens - I have had this before with an ipad, also just swabbed and sent on its way

if you get the dreaded SSSS they swab all the electrics at the gate
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Old Jun 17, 2019, 5:35 am
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Those monitoring the scans only get a 2 dimension view on their screens, with colours to indicate different aspects of interest. It's just possible the combination of angle and data processing meant that the item looked a bit odd or different to the person screening (or indeed that fat finger syndrome crept in) so it was sent for a manual check. I would read nothing into it at all, unless it keeps happening, in which case you may want to find out if (e.g.) a foreign object had slipped into the casework.
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Old Jun 17, 2019, 5:38 am
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I believe they pull a random item every so often for swabbing. Nothing you've done.
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Old Jun 17, 2019, 6:55 am
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I got pulled over for a random swabbing last week in GOT. Unfortunately the first swab came up as positive for explosives! I did have to clench the odd muscle or two whilst they re-did the test on a different machine, which thankfully came back negative... Reminds me of when we had a client event where we took them clay pigeon shooting in West London. I did wonder how easily a bunch of our attendees would get through security as many were flying directly home immediately after!
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Old Jun 17, 2019, 6:56 am
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I had a bit of a scary one recently at T5 where (randomly) my laptop and shoes were swabbed - and my shoes tested positive for explosives! They then tested on another machine and they were again positive.

At that point lots of people that I never normally see arrived and had a little chat with me, very politely. They took my passport details and filled in a form, and I was sent on my way - but it looked like it didn't happen particularly often. I was told this is common with army reservists (which I am not), and people working on farms (which I am also not, but I might have been in the countryside occasionally), and now I am wrecking my brain as to what I might have stepped into, considering those particular shoes were sitting at home for a week before I wore them; and whether that will eventually wear off...
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Old Jun 17, 2019, 6:57 am
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Originally Posted by xPositor
Unfortunately the first swab came up as positive for explosives!
Well, there we go then - more common than one would think. Now you know what would've happened if the second test was positive as well
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Old Jun 17, 2019, 7:06 am
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I have one laptop with 2 internal hard disks. I get this sometimes at LGW (and for some reason only LGW) with that machine. The security operative asks if it has a extra hard disk and then sends me on my way.
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Old Jun 17, 2019, 7:13 am
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When Heathrow has pulled their thumb, and their wallet, out and upgraded the baggage scanners to 21st century technology - in 2022! - then this will be much less of a problem.

Amsterdam Schiphol already has the new 3D CT scanners at all checkpoints and they can handle almost any item even inside bags.
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Old Jun 17, 2019, 8:40 am
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This isn't too much of a problem at LHR T5 but at MAN, if your bag gets pulled for secondary, it can literally be 30 mins or more before it's your turn to get the good news. The situation last Monday was dire at T1 with staff shouting that anyone having their trays pulled could be waiting for up to one hour!
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Old Jun 17, 2019, 8:41 am
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Two laptops is always a problem - very suspicious - and more often than not requiring additional attention.

(At US airports with TSApre - you get barked at if you try and take them out but then get pulled to one side having left them in...).
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Old Jun 17, 2019, 9:03 am
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Originally Posted by Quark999
I had a bit of a scary one recently at T5 where (randomly) my laptop and shoes were swabbed - and my shoes tested positive for explosives! They then tested on another machine and they were again positive.

At that point lots of people that I never normally see arrived and had a little chat with me, very politely. They took my passport details and filled in a form, and I was sent on my way - but it looked like it didn't happen particularly often. I was told this is common with army reservists (which I am not), and people working on farms (which I am also not, but I might have been in the countryside occasionally), and now I am wrecking my brain as to what I might have stepped into, considering those particular shoes were sitting at home for a week before I wore them; and whether that will eventually wear off...
In the early days some skin cream residues would test positive. They seem to have eliminated that but perhaps stepping in a lot of nitrogen fertilizer could do it.
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Old Jun 17, 2019, 9:15 am
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As a chemist by profession, I am used to false positives: it was the reaction of the security staff that got me as much as anything!
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Old Jun 17, 2019, 12:05 pm
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I've been noticing quite a few more essentially random checks recently in a few airports. Been selected at Heathrow, Amsterdam, Stockholm, Doha, Hong Kong, Bangkok and Singapore in the last three months off the top of my head. At first, I thought it was me being flagged, but then realised that it has been happening at checkpoints where you don't actually show your ID (e.g. DOH transit, LHR and HKG main security). And each time, instead of searching through everything as you would if you were taken aside for a full secondary, they just randomly select one bag/item (again, different bags with different items) to swab or look into, and then send me on my way very quickly afterwards. Was actually shocked that it was so 'casual' per se and had to double check that they really didn't want to look into my other bag.
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Old Jun 17, 2019, 2:10 pm
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Originally Posted by furryman
As a chemist by profession, I am used to false positives: it was the reaction of the security staff that got me as much as anything!

Any chance residue from your profession could have created the positive results?
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