Join 3,418 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Eyes in the Skies
July 18, 2003 6:18 AM   Subscribe

Southeast Airlines has plans to install digital video cameras throughout the cabins of its planes to record the faces and activities of its passengers at all times. Furthermore, the charter airline will store the digitized video for up to 10 years. And it may use face recognition software to match faces to names and personal records.
posted by Irontom (17 comments total)

 
Now, they're a small charter airline, so my concern was more philosophical than practical. But then I read this quote: "The federal government is looking at mandating some camera security and surveillance." And I think, this guy's just their head marketing drone, what does he know?

And then I read this quote from a Dept. of Homeland Security flak: "We haven't made a decision or awarded a contract yet." (emphasis mine)

And I gotta call Orwell - this is just getting too damned creepy for any other description.
posted by Irontom at 6:19 AM on July 18, 2003


Have you never been in a bank? Used an ATM? Shopped at a department store? Don't want "big brother" to record you? Don't fly. Nobody is forcing you to.
posted by bondcliff at 6:34 AM on July 18, 2003


Well, no, no one is forcing me to fly, but it surely is an invasion of privacy.

I'll just choose to fly on another airline. Much like I currently refuse to fly on Delta.
posted by bshort at 6:41 AM on July 18, 2003


Have you never been in a bank? Used an ATM?

So, you are one of those annoying folk who piddle around at the ATM for 6 hours?
posted by rushmc at 6:45 AM on July 18, 2003


Hey bondcliff - what happens when every airline in the country is doing it?

What happens when there is a camera every 10 feet in every establishment of any kind at all? What happens when people start telling me that the only people who fear surveillance are those who've done something wrong?

Oh, wait. That last part already happens. Guess I'm some sort of suspicious character then...
posted by Irontom at 6:52 AM on July 18, 2003


If not installing cameras produces an increase in revenue then those airlines that have them installed will quickly get rid of them. The airline industry at the moment can't afford to lose business.
posted by PenDevil at 7:05 AM on July 18, 2003


Don't want "big brother" to record you? Don't fly. Nobody is forcing you to.

Oh, you are SOOOOO cool. I want to be like you.
posted by eas98 at 7:07 AM on July 18, 2003


what happens when every airline in the country is doing it?

Then you can choose not to fly, the same way you can choose not to use an ATM if your so concerned about your privacy.

What happens when there is a camera every 10 feet in every establishment of any kind at all?

Has that happened yet? No. Will it happen? No. Because even people like me, who can accept cameras on planes, a place where security is vital, will not let it happen. If it does happen, then we all wear Dick Cheney masks everywhere we go.

I just don't buy the slippery slope argument. Security cameras on airplanes today does not mean we're going to be Nazi Germany tomorrow.
posted by bondcliff at 7:07 AM on July 18, 2003


bondcliff - "What happens when there is a camera every 10 feet in every establishment of any kind at all?

Has that happened yet? No. Will it happen? No. Because even people like me....."

It is already happening before your very eyes. If you haven't noticed, well then - you haven't noticed. Cameras have become rather small - undetectable even, and they are increasingly ubiquitious.

"Current estimates put the number of government and business cameras [ in the U.S. ] at 2 million. A recent study by the advocacy group Privacy International projects 6 million will be monitoring us in the next half-decade. By one estimate, the average American is filmed six times a day, and the figure is considerably higher in cities.

Manufacturers and law-enforcement officers argue surveillance cameras make us safer; privacy groups worry they will lead to a society where every action is recorded and judged. Now there is a new question to consider: Could more cutting-edge cameras — and software such as facial recognition — have prevented the Sept. 11 attacks?

With a widespread feeling that America is no longer a secure country, it now appears more than ever that we're headed toward becoming a surveillance nation.

"I don't believe we can put the genie back in the bottle," said James Masten, president of the Lynnwood-based surveillance company SecureEye. "
posted by troutfishing at 7:27 AM on July 18, 2003


the airline "industry" has no business. how many are showing a profit? how many ever have? they're all gasping for breath, and have been for decades. if "business" as a whole decided that flying minions around the country for meetings was ridiculous (it is) and did away with it in favor of say, video conferencing, the airline "industry" would collapse on itself like a black hole. it's only the added cost of goods and services, built in by business and paid by the general public for unneeded air travel, that allows them to continue.
posted by quonsar at 7:27 AM on July 18, 2003


Nice. We won't have to wait much now for the mythical "Mile High Club" amateur videos to hit the nets.
posted by nkyad at 7:47 AM on July 18, 2003


Don't fly. Nobody is forcing you to.

Damn right. Thank heavens the Greyhound goes to Tokyo now.
posted by tss at 8:00 AM on July 18, 2003


[T]he charter airline will store the digitized video for up to 10 years.

You could become a millionaire selling them the disk drives.

My understanding is that your garden variety ATM type camera only uses a standard videotape, and that on a big long loop. After all, the overwhelming majority of the time nothing unusual happened (i.e., the cops don't show up wanting the tape).

Why archive hours and days and years of perfectly normal stuff? Please tell me someone will not have to sit and watch hours and hours of people reading the latest novels, doing crossword puzzles, sleeping, trying to calm down small children, looking out the window, and picking thier noses.

The two words this story makes me think are not Orwellian nightmare but rather wasting money.

He conceded the system would not prevent determined terrorists from sabotaging a plane....

In my mind, this says it all. Call me when they back off or declare bankruptcy.
posted by ilsa at 8:30 AM on July 18, 2003


Then you can choose not to fly, the same way you can choose not to use an ATM if your so concerned about your privacy.

The airlines have every right to do this, but we also have every right to let the airlines know we don't like it. That's how the system--and a free market--works. All Irontom has done here is make people aware of it. Obviously, the market (or perhaps the government) will dictate what happens. But don't bitch at us for upholding our end of the system.
posted by jpoulos at 9:15 AM on July 18, 2003


On second thought, if face-matching recog software is anything like my voice-recog software, a combover and a three-day beard is going to render it totally fuckified.

*sighs, dewedgifies panties*
posted by UncleFes at 9:21 AM on July 18, 2003


He conceded the system would not prevent determined terrorists from sabotaging a plane...

no, but the media containing the imagery could, in theory, be recovered from the crash site. then NASA could enhance the images and we could all own our very own copy of "The Final Moments OF Flight 69" from Time-Life Video. as an added plus, we could arrest any child molestors who survived the crash.
posted by quonsar at 9:39 AM on July 18, 2003


"The two words this story makes me think are not Orwellian nightmare but rather wasting money." ( Ilsa ) -- Ilsa - Don't the words "Orwellian" ad "Nightmare" flow together quite neatly with "wasting money"?

"Why archive hours and days and years of perfectly normal stuff?" ( Ilsa ) - Because you can, especially when the cost of data storage has dropped to trivial levels.
posted by troutfishing at 9:13 PM on July 18, 2003


« Older As a matter of fact, you can tell a book by it's c...  |  The jig is up.... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments