I Would Not Care if Delta DID Turn on Their Cameras in new Seat Back Screens (IFE)! You?

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Yes – this IS a camera folks!

Oh good grief – this is just ridiculous. INC.com on Tuesday published a piece about the now viral info (most of us knew about this already, but did not care) about Delta and other airlines new IFE (inflight entertainment) screens having built in cameras. It was titled: “Here’s a Secret Reason to Carry a Bandage Strip on Air Flights“. Really? Really INC? Sigh. This was enough to push me to blog about this silly non-issue.

Is this thing ON? Do you care?

First things first, if you have been living under a rock, Delta in their A350 Delta One Suites as well as their new A220 jets has IFE units that is basically a tablet and those tablets include a built in camera. However, notice what BizJournals.com says about them (from a Delta rep):

“A limited number of Delta in-flight entertainment screens have cameras that were included by the manufacturer,” said a Delta spokesperson. “They are not functional and Delta does not have any plans to install the necessary software to use them.”bizjournals.com

So they are off. Oh but wait, this is not the first time Delta jets have been caught with cameras pointed at you in the cabin (and you would be right). Back in 2015 Delta had some jets that had cameras pointed at the 1st class cabin and it did freak a lot of folks out. But, like the new IFE cams, they were not functional.

A cam looking at me in my GhettoIFE

INC is telling you to basically stick a Band-Aid over the cameras so that you can be sure any of the airlines with these built in screen camera are not turned on (after all how would you know) and videoing you in your seat. Again, really?

Transcon – with kids!

Let’s think about this for a bit. First off, I do not think any airline would like you potentially damaging their equipment by sticking anything that is not 100% removable to it. I guess you can make the argument that a Band-Aid is removable but I bet it leaves behind some sticky glue (unlike my GhettoIFE pads that do not). Beyond that, what in the world could you be doing in an airline seat (in open public) that you would want kept private? Let’s face it – folks take photos on jets all the time. Every time you are in an airport there are video cameras everywhere! I promise you on any trip you are going to be in hours and hours of video from the time you leave your home to the time you arrive at wherever you are going.

Honestly, what difference would it make if Delta videoed you in your airplane seat?

But there are times video can get a little bit creepy. As a blogger / Vlogger I spend a lot of time taking photos and video when I travel. I have a steady cam rig I often fly with so that I can get reasonable video as I say walk around a cruise ship or walk through a lounge. It is almost impossible to not have travelers in those shots. Where it can get a bit weird is taking photos in a bathroom. I would never (unless I first checked it was empty) video in a bathroom – that is just icky and weird. But what else?

A nice hotel in San Juan

I also spend a lot of time reviewing the hotels I stay at. My wife is quite accustomed to the fact that when we arrive at a room we never make ourselves at home until I have either shot photos or video (or done both). It is just part of our way of life. I also check to make sure the room is clean and neat and does not have bed bugs etc. But one thing I do not do is check for hidden cameras (maybe I should). A camera in a hotel room? THAT would be something to go CRAZY over and would be national news if either the hotel installed it or someone else did nefariously.

But you tell me now that this story has been out for a week or so and you have had a chance to think on the subject. Do you care at all that Delta has cameras in some of their IFE systems? Would you care if they turned them on and either A) told you they are on or B) did not tell you they are on? I would love to know! – René

 

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10 comments

  1. I am with you on this one. Even if the cameras could see what you are doing, what would they be able to show that others around you can’t already see?

  2. Our privacy is under increasing attack. No, Delta should tape over the camera lenses in IFE. Who knows how easy to hack by a sophisticated passenger on board. And for those who take photos and videos as the walk about, it is a courtesy and probably a law in places that inadvertent subjects are either blurred or give positive permission for their image to be posted.

  3. I think if they are going to ever activate the camera on the entertainment screens, there should at least add some wording near the camera stating that you could possibly be under camera surveillance. No, I don’t plan to do anything weird that I’d be embarrassed to have caught on camera, however, it’s super creepy to think that another person could be spying on you as eat, sleep, etc… At least if the person next to me is eyeing me up, I can see and I’m aware of it. There’s just something disturbing about not knowing if you’re being watched or not. A camera aimed right at you from two feet away, for a full 8-9 hour flight, gives me a very different feeling from a camera I may pass by briefly inside an airport. There is a difference! I hope they don’t ever activate them, but if they do, we should be made aware. It’s the right thing to do.

  4. I’m with you, Rene – where we stay overnight is SOOO much more important. I have discovered cameras in international AirBnBs. But nothing a well-placed sock can fix. 🙂

  5. Just bring a little piece of Duck tape and place on top of the camera if you feel uncomfortable. Otherwise, I could not care less.

  6. Agree Rene! Nothing going on in the seat that delta would care about except passing up the same old snacks! Lately I’m seeing no new items .

  7. I find that most people who don’t care about this either have never lived under survilance, or have very little understanding of privacy. It’s an old argument, that your in public, so it’s okay to record/monitor everything, but it never holds up when people are threatened by misuse. The easiest way to prevent misuse is to not allow it to begin with. Rene had preached cyber security many times in this blog, but to fail to recognize that privacy is key component of proper cyber hygiene is something non-practionars often do. Why secure your digital data, and fail to recognize the overwhelming importance of your biometric data? You can change a password, you can’t change your face. We already know foreign nation states have stolen biometric data from the US Government, with the OPM bring the most public. Do you really trust Delta IT to secure it? Only thinking in terms of Delta and your flight makes easy for others who intend harm.

  8. It is not about what the public is or isn’t doing in an airplane seat. The question is why have a camera there at all? There should be a defendable expectation of privacy in a seat where the airline is bragging about privacy, e.g. delta suites. It is indisputable that passengers like privacy. That seems to be the thinking behind why airlines design and advertise expensive and bulky business class and first class seats. What the heck good is a privacy door if the airline has you on candid camera all of the time?

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