HONG KONG - Passengers Monitored with Onboard Cameras

Arno Froese

Hong Kong airline Cathay Pacific has revealed it is recording passenger activity on its aircraft via inflight entertainment systems and video cameras, re-opening an uncomfortable debate over surveillance on airplanes.

The carrier, frequently named among the world’s best, outlined its information gathering in an updated privacy policy published at the end of July 2019.

Cathay confirmed it is collecting images of passengers while they’re on board as well as logging their usage of the in-flight entertainment system (IFE) and how they spend time during the flight.

Earlier in 2018, multiple airlines confirmed that cameras were installed in their entertainment systems, sparking widespread privacy concerns. Airlines including Singapore Airlines, Emirates and American said they had no plans to activate the cameras.

Cathay’s spokesperson said similar devices were not installed in its IFEs. “Our inflight entertainment systems do not have any cameras, microphones or sensors to monitor passengers, nor have they in the past.”

In its privacy policy, the airline says the data collection is designed to improve the flying experience with additional personalization. The airline also says data could be shared with third-party partners for marketing purposes.

Cathay Pacific has an uneven record when it comes to digital privacy. In October 2018, the airline reported a data breach that potentially impacted some nine million passengers.

British Airways also experienced a data breach in 2018 and was fined $230 million under the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation rules.

Vitaly Kamuk, a cybersecurity expert who Tweeted about the discovery of a camera lens in a Singapore Airlines IFE system, told CNN Travel back in March 2019 that there was a risk that images collected by such a lens could fall into the wrong hands.

“I believe it’s going to settle down, that the case to be made for positive benefits coming from cameras is stronger than any concern that they could possibly be used for nefarious purposes,” said David Bartlett, Panasonic Avionics chief technology officer.

-www.cnn.com, 5 August 2019

Arno's commentary

There is no way out; “Big Brother is watching you” is becoming an increased reality in virtually all public places; in this case, as a passenger on an airline.

Most of us do not realize how often our image is captured: while shopping in a store, going to the bank, or using the services of government institutions. And then there is much more: the private, hidden cameras by the millions.

Here the words of Jesus are quite remarkable: “Fear them not therefore: for there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; and hid, that shall not be known” (Matthew 10:26). Today, the collection of personal data serves to promote merchandising in the first place, and secondly security. An increasing number of criminals are being caught quickly due to surveillance cameras. But in the end, it will serve the coming global government, which seeks to control all people everywhere.

Arno Froese is the executive director of Midnight Call Ministries and editor-in-chief of the acclaimed prophetic magazines Midnight Call and News From Israel. He has authored a number of well-received books, and has sponsored many prophecy conferences in the U.S., Canada, and Israel. His extensive travels have contributed to his keen insight into Bible prophecy, as he sees it from an international perspective.

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