Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 June 2019

Singapore Airlines criticised for in-flight 'spy' cameras

The airline has come under fire from passengers for having cameras on its on-board entertainment panels

Singapore Airlines has faced criticism for installing cameras on in-flight entertainment systems. Courtesy Singapore Airlines
Singapore Airlines has faced criticism for installing cameras on in-flight entertainment systems. Courtesy Singapore Airlines

If you’re planning to fly Singapore Airlines any time soon, then you might want to be aware of a potential limited privacy situation regarding the airline’s in-flight entertainment monitors.

Earlier this week, Singapore Airlines passenger Vitty Kamluk boarded a Boeing 787 flight and noticed a small camera in the entertainment panel on the seatback in front of him. The passenger tweeted the airline asking what it was.

Sinapore Airlines promptly responded, confirming that the sensor was a camera lens, but assuring the passenger that it had been disabled.

The camera is part of a series of new entertainment systems manufactured by Panasonic and purchased by Singapore Airlines for many of its Airbus 350, A380, Boeing777-300ER and B787-10 jets. The panels are installed in some business, premium economy and economy classes.

In a subsequent statement, the airline clarified: “These cameras are permanently disabled on our aircraft and cannot be activated on board. We have no plans to enable or develop any features using the cameras.”

Despite the clarification, Twitter users following the conversation were not happy about the possible invasion of privacy.

One user wrote that while he did not expect the same level of privacy on a plane as he would at home, he would at least like to be informed of any monitoring.

Another user saw the funnier side of things, and joked that the camera could be covered with chewing gum, if the substance wasn’t banned in Singapore.

Other tweets suggested similar devices had been spotted on other airlines.

It’s not the first privacy issue that Singapore Airlines has suffered of late. Earlier this year, reports surfaced that the airline was among a number of large corporate firms making use of an in-app technology called Glassbox.

This session reply software allows app makers to record every tap, swipe, keystroke or text that users deploy on their smartphones.

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Updated: February 21, 2019 12:51 PM

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