Hidden cameras on airlines’ touch screens make users concern

Some users consider that these cameras can compromise their privacy

Recently, a photograph showing a camera on one of the TV screens of a Singapore Airlines plane became viral, as users wondered if this was not a lack of privacy during the flight. Now, according to reports of network security specialists from the International Institute of Cyber Security, it has been revealed that the screens on some flights of American Airlines also have this type of cameras. 

One of the passengers on an American Airlines flight to Tokyo noticed something out of the ordinary: a small camera embedded in the lower part of the entertainment system corresponding to his seat on the plane.

“I’m quite paranoid,” says Sri Ray, the passenger who made this peculiar discovery. “I’m always wondering how someone could exploit the technology we use on a daily basis against us, so when I noticed that little circle on the screen of my seat, I had to inspect it in detail, just to realize that, indeed, it was a camera”, adds the user.

A spokesman for American Airlines confirmed that these cameras are in some of the airline’s entertainment systems, but highlights that they have never been activated and there are no plans for future use. “This is the standard design of our entertainment systems, manufacturers include them for future implementations, such as gesture navigation”, the spokesman added.

Singapore Airlines offered a similar explanation when a user posted photographs of cameras installed on their entertainment systems on Twitter. “Those cameras are disabled,” Singapore Airlines posted on Twitter. Both airlines claim that the cameras were not intentionally installed in their entertainment centers, but are a factory feature.

However, network security experts consider that airlines could at least cover the cameras embedded in their screens so that users do not feel monitored during their flights.

Every day appears a new smart device with built-in cameras, from smartphones to smart speakers and, because of the commonness that privacy breaches through wireless devices connected to the Internet, It is not unreasonable for a user to feel observed by one of these devices have become. According to specialists in network security, although the airlines are not interested in collecting images of their users, there are malicious actors capable of exploiting vulnerabilities in these teams for their own purposes.

In addition, the cameras are not the only concern of the users. It was recently revealed that the Hi Barbie Internet-connected doll, developed by Mattel, could be hacked to spy on people’s recordings through the built-in microphone on the doll. The U.S. authorities have even issued some security alerts for the use of these “smart toys”.