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Beware! As The Seat-Back Entertainment System on Your Flight Can Watch You

A passenger on a Singapore flight posted a photo of the seat-back display last week, and the tweet was shared several hundred times and drew media notice. Buzzfeed first reported that the cameras are also on some American planes.

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American Airlines aircraft sit at O'Hare International Airport in Chicago, June 16, 2018. Newer seat-back entertainment systems on some airplanes operated by American Airlines and Singapore Airlines have cameras, and it’s likely they are also on plane. VOA

Now there is one more place where cameras could be watching you — from 30,000 feet.

Newer seat-back entertainment systems on some airplanes operated by American Airlines and Singapore Airlines have cameras, and it’s likely they are also on planes used by other carriers.

American and Singapore both said Friday that they have never activated the cameras and have no plans to use them.

However, companies that make the entertainment systems are installing cameras to offer future options such as seat-to-seat video conferencing, according to an American Airlines spokesman.

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Newer seat-back entertainment systems on some airplanes operated by American Airlines and Singapore Airlines have cameras, and it’s likely they are also on planes used by other carriers. Pixabay

Cameras standard features

The airlines stressed that they didn’t add the cameras — manufacturers embedded them in the entertainment systems. American’s systems are made by Panasonic, while Singapore uses Panasonic and Thales, according to airline representatives. Neither Panasonic nor Thales responded immediately for comment.

As they shrink, cameras are being built into more devices, including laptops and smartphones. The presence of cameras in aircraft entertainment systems was known in aviation circles at least two years ago, although not among the traveling public.

Seth Miller, a journalist who wrote about the issue in 2017, thinks that equipment makers didn’t consider the privacy implications. There were already cameras on planes, although not so intrusive, and the companies assumed that passengers would trade their images for convenience, as they do with facial-recognition technology at immigration checkpoints, he said.

“Now they’re facing blowback from a small but vocal group questioning the value of the system that isn’t even active,” Miller said.

American Airlines spokesman Ross Feinstein said cameras are in “premium economy” seats on 82 Boeing 777 and Airbus A330-200 jets. American has nearly 1,000 planes.

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The airlines stressed that they didn’t add the cameras — manufacturers embedded them in the entertainment systems. American’s systems are made by Panasonic, while Singapore uses Panasonic and Thales, according to airline representatives. Neither Panasonic nor Thales responded immediately for comment. Pixabay

“Cameras are a standard feature on many in-flight entertainment systems used by multiple airlines,” he said.

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Singapore spokesman James Boyd said cameras are on 84 Airbus A350s, Airbus A380s and Boeing 777s and 787s. The carrier has 117 planes.

Cameras not turned on

While the airlines say they have no plans to use the cameras, a Twitter user named Vitaly Kamluk, who snapped the photo of the camera on his Singapore flight, suggested that just to be sure the carriers should slap stickers over the lenses.

“The cameras are probably not used now,” he tweeted. “But if they are wired, operational, bundled with mic, it’s a matter of one smart hack to use them on 84+ aircrafts and spy on passengers.” (VOA)

Next Story

LG Introduces its New Flagship V40 ThinQ with 5 Cameras

The company said the exact launch date and price have not yet been decided

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LG logo, wikimedia

LG Electronics Inc. on Thursday unveiled its new flagship V40 ThinQ that offers five different cameras to provide a versatile and unique experience for its users.

The new device has a unique, upgraded five-camera arrangement with three rear main cameras and dual cameras up front, Yonhap news agency reported.

Moments can be seized as they happen from multiple angles, the company said in a press conference held at LG Science Park in western Seoul.

“LG V40 ThinQ is equipped with the cameras that customers need,” Hwang Jeong-hwan, Vice President, LG Electronics, said in a statement, adding that they will be able to produce new, high-quality content with various functions of the cameras.

The rear-facing cameras can take so-called triple shots through just one click, capturing the same photo ranging from wide to telephoto, the company added.

The new smartphone also offers a so-called triple preview feature that shows a live preview from all three cameras simultaneously, it said.

The upgraded Artificial Intelligence (AI) feature of the camera automatically suggests the best angles and effects and also recognises up to three people and adjusts composition, the company said.

The new flagship allows users to create content combining photos and videos with a feature called “Magic Photo”, the company said.

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LG unveils V40 ThinQ with 5 cameras. Flickr

The users can select a certain area of a photo and add video to it and then share the finished images on social media.

LG said it has conducted a survey to find what customers truly want and found out that cameras and social media apps are the most frequently used features on smartphones.

“We focused on the fact that cameras are the most frequently used smartphone feature yet draw the most criticism,” Hwang said.

“We didn’t just increase the number of cameras. We focused on providing cameras based on the concept of life and story.”

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The V40 ThinQ, which comes in gray, blue and red, features a 6.4-inch display that delivers vibrant and remarkable clarity, LG said.

The company said it used sand-blast technology for the surface of the smartphone’s body, making it feel smoother in users’ hands.

To give the smartphone a more simple look, the company said it added concealed sensors on both sides of the LG V40 ThinQ. The product also comes with curved lines on all edges for improved grip.

The company said the exact launch date and price have not yet been decided. (IANS)