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Cabin cameras set to keep watch in airliners

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Cabin cameras set to keep watch in airliners

Old 6th Apr 2002, 05:45
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Arrow Cabin cameras set to keep watch in airliners

JetBlue became the first airline to install tiny cameras in a passenger cabin. Most other American airlines are expected to follow in short order.

"The cabin camera surveillance system is the logical next step to protect our customers and crew," said David Neeleman, JetBlue's chief executive.

The hidden cameras will allow pilots to watch passengers on two cockpit screens. "If there was a disturbance back there," said Captain Lanny McAndrew, chief pilot for JetBlue, "they would be able to monitor the situation and land as soon as possible."

But Mitch Dresner, a New York business executive who is also a frequent flier, says the benefit of camera surveillance is not worth the intrusion. "I don't think it will make a difference," Mr. Dresner said. "The pilots have enough to do. It won't stop anybody from getting on the aircraft."

Putting cameras on board aircraft was a recommendation of a committee of airline industry executives and government officials after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. While there is no legal requirement to do so, 19 other airlines have already applied to the Federal Aviation Administration for permission to introduce the surveillance equipment on both domestic and international flights. The F.A.A. refused to say which airlines had applied.

But critics, while agreeing that surveillance cameras may provide added security, want assurances that passenger privacy rights will be protected.

"We do have privacy concerns," said Barry Steinhardt, associate director of the American Civil Liberties Union. "This is an example of where technology is in the Space Age, but the law that protects privacy is back in the Stone Age. This may well be an appropriate role, but we don't know if it will be abused in the future."

Under pressure to put security measures in place as quickly as possible, the airlines are rushing to put cameras or other alarm devices on board. JetBlue was the first to get official permission from the F.A.A.; it has installed cameras in one plane and plans to add them to the rest of its fleet over the next three months.

Delta Air Lines (news/quote) received F.A.A. approval last October to test security cameras on one of its jetliners. "We are currently evaluating the results of that test," said Katherine Stengel, a spokeswoman for Delta. "We are looking at different products to enhance security on our aircraft."

United Airlines, a unit of UAL (news/quote), also confirmed that it had applied for authority to install security cameras. "We are looking at multiple cameras outside the cockpit door," said Joe Hopkins, a spokesman for the airline. AMR's American Airlines said it was looking at a variety of ways to monitor its cabins.

The airlines' applications will be approved "as soon as possible," said Paul Takemoto, a spokesman for the F.A.A. "We are interested in anything that might improve onboard security. We are also pleased to see the airlines are moving quickly ahead to take the additional security steps called for by the president."

The added security does not come cheaply. For JetBlue, adding the surveillance cameras, which are made by AD Aerospace of Washington and being installed by LiveTV of Melbourne, Fla., will cost about $50,000 for each of its 24 Airbus jetliners. New aircraft added to the fleet will come with the cameras already installed.

Putting cameras in passenger cabins has widespread support from industry groups.

"The flight deck crew members should have the ability to monitor activities in the cabin since cockpit doors have been fortified, and pilots are expected to remain in the cockpit," said Michael Wascom, a spokesman for the Air Transport Association in Washington. "Clearly the concept has our support as a security tool."

A coalition of airline leaders appointed by the Transportation Department in October urged airlines to install security cameras and improve lighting near cockpit doors.

Pilots also like the idea. "We have advocated the idea of having some way for pilots to have some means to see what is going on," said John Major, a spokesman for the Air Line Pilots Association. "Its only purpose is to serve security. It should not be recording."

Mike Home, managing director for AD Aerospace, echoed that point, but argued that recording the images should not be ruled out. Pilots will be able to "make informed decisions regarding actions or diversions, without putting themselves and the aircraft in danger by entering the passenger cabin," he said.

He said that equipment could be installed on any airline that wanted it. That would be an advantage, he said, in verifying any onboard terrorist or prosecuting any passenger who attacks someone on board.

Mr. Neeleman, JetBlue's chief executive, emphasized that video pictures on its airliners would not be recorded, and that no cameras would be installed in the bathrooms. "Passengers are informed about the cabin cameras at the beginning of each flight as part of the in-flight safety announcements," he said.

According to Glenn Latta, executive vice president of LiveTV, the cameras will still be rolling at night during overnight stops, and pictures sent by a wireless device on the aircraft will allow security agents to monitor maintenance workers and employees of outside suppliers who board an aircraft.

Mr. Home of AD Aerospace said, "Live pictures generated on board the aircraft while it is parked at the gate can become an integrated part of the airport video security system."
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Old 6th Apr 2002, 15:59
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But critics, while agreeing that surveillance cameras may provide added security, want assurances that passenger privacy rights will be protected
What rights are those ? An airliner cabin is a public place (except for the application of liquor laws, but that's another topic). If the wailers are concerned about passengers being watched, perhaps they ought to counsel said passengers to behave with commensurate decorum.

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Old 6th Apr 2002, 16:36
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Ok, if there is suddenly space in the flightdeck for video displays, how about some cameras pointing at the engines, and possibly the undercarriage?
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Old 6th Apr 2002, 19:54
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This would pose some interesting issues under the Data Protection Act which would require all airlines which operate into and out of British airfields to comply with the requirements of the Act. Firstly all of the fitted aircraft would have to clearly display notification of the fact that images are being taken, and what the intended purpose of taking the images is. A note may also have to be printed on the boarding pass. I am sure that someone more conversant in this law would be able to point out a number of other requirements on the airlines.

I also fail to see what benefit could be gained from cameras in the cabin. If there were an incident or air rage or some suchlike then there will be a sufficient number of eye witnesses to testify in court as is the case now. While CCTV images would cement the evidence, the cameras would not prevent someone who is determined to hijack a plane from doing so, it would merely record images of the act. I can't help thinking that this is a knee-jerk reaction that will not add a great deal to security.
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Old 6th Apr 2002, 20:53
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I think if you re-read the article you will find there is no proposal for evidentiary use. The cameras are to facilitate real-time situational assessment.
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Old 6th Apr 2002, 23:05
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Seems to me that the US industry is seriously losing the plot. The main problems on a day to day basis are those of a technical nature, so why is there no priority to having, like someone else said on this thread, cameras pointed at vital pieces of the aircraft, as a priority??

No one has mentioned that anyone outside the flight deck could block the camera lenses and render these new fangled inventions useless !
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Old 7th Apr 2002, 06:43
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The ICAO Phase 2 security proposals (which will go through on the nod) require a method of identifying the persons at the flight deck door before the flight crew open it and allow entry. It is also a requirement of the US FAA SFAR 92-4 which is due to be implemented by all US carriers by March 2003. It is expected that the US authorities will require all aircraft flying into the States to comply.

The display is to be visible from either FD seat and likewise the door is to be capable of being released from either position.

It may be a video camera but one Boeing proposal allows for a clear bullet proof panel in the door. There have already been problems with the camera being considered intrusive to First class passengers and the angle has had to be changed slightly.

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Old 7th Apr 2002, 07:37
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Whether it has any security benefit or not, I have to wonder about all the hoo-har over "passenger privacy". How on earth does any passenger have privacy anyway?

Of course, this will be the end of bulkhead bonks with effays!

Still, it's good to see that the dunny will retain privacy for those needing a quick w*nk...
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Old 7th Apr 2002, 18:11
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kbf1, whilst I agree in general with all your comments, I am not entirely sure that it is correct that airlines have to comply with the data protection act to record images of passengers.

I notice that at several airports in the UK (Aberdeen and Gatwick for example), as you pass through security your image is recorded on a PC where (presumably) pictures are saved in case of problems later. I am not aware of any disclaimers that these images are being recorded. I would imagine this would have been looked at by lawyers in case of breach of human rights claims etc. Maybe someone in security at these places could comment further.
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Old 7th Apr 2002, 18:55
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Stop x3

With regard to your last point I believe all airports ie ports of entry to UK (including ferry ports) video pax as they pass through

Not sure what happens with car passengers though
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Old 7th Apr 2002, 20:36
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Aint you guys at the pointy end got enough to do already?
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Old 8th Apr 2002, 06:57
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My $5 spraycan of black-paint beats your $50.000 camera system
every time. End of situational awareness!
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Old 8th Apr 2002, 10:02
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Any body who operates an A/C we appreciate the tremendous difficulties that are associated with the current 'locked deck door policy.' It is quite simply preposterous that a member of the flight deck has to leave his seat to open the door to allow in a member of the cabin crew, especially in the event of an emergancy. This has nothing to do with security, but with the safey of the A/C. One half of the crew is out of the link and will one day either cause an air miss or worse, we all make mistakes and must constantly keep a vidual to ensure that the opportunity to make one is as diminished. The security camera is vital to identify guests so that you can then from your seat unlock the door.

While I'm on the subject the bullet proof door with no blow out panels will only last as long as there isn't an explopsive decompression. In the event of a hull loss it might not be the initial factor but I'm certain in a safety report it would be classified as a contributary factor.

If they break the camera and you cannot identiify them, simple, you just don't open the door. If they're just a pranckster they get arressted and get a good kicking from security on the ground.

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Old 8th Apr 2002, 20:00
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From this months Pilot magazine

Safety or Security? A B737 crew forgot to set QNH when approaching Gatwick- they were distracted by new security procedures with an intercom call from the cabin- fortunately the weather was CAVOK. And a B737 Co-Pilot who left his seat to unlock the flight deck door, so food trays could be removed, left ATC unmonitored during two flight-level clearances. The locked door was part of revised security.
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Old 8th Apr 2002, 23:34
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Yep you can guarantee that the cabin-call foghorn will go off repeatedly as you're trying to set QNH and re-brief for an unexpected SRA for 'controller training purposes'. On the plus side with cabin cameras you can keep an eye on the beaver! Makes a change from the Daily Telegraph!
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Old 11th Apr 2002, 04:03
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You will never find the cameras to paint them. At least, not all of them
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Old 11th Apr 2002, 06:09
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I absolutely want to know whats going on in the back. To the poster who said we have enough to worry about already, well sticking my head in the sand and hoping all on the other side of the door will taken care of is not an option. Professional pilots are capable of multi tasking, with a hijack situation in the cabin rating pretty high on the list of priorities. Real time info is what I need to make the best decisions. Relying on a FA to keep up my SA up should be a secondary of tertiary source. With a knife to his or her neck is not the perspective I want. To the poster who said it will not stop the bad guys from getting onboard, granted but the intent is to provide the flight deck with information after they make their move. It was pointed out that the cameras can be disabled. Quite true and problematic. I know some cameras are quite small and hopefully easily hidden. Hopefully they can be hidden to the point that they will not be found or at least the crew gains some insight before the plug is pulled.
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Old 11th Apr 2002, 22:49
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As someone pointed out earlier in the debate about arms in the cockpit, maybe I am naive, but putting cameras in the cabin will not make the situation any safer, will it?
It seems to me that they are being fitted so that the travelling masses can see the industry is at least doing something to counter the terrorist threat.
Watching the terrorists/hijakers slitting throats on nifty little screens in the cockpit ain't worth a can of beans to the pilots unless thay can do something to affect the outcome.
Suggestions please, as to how we, the industry, effectively prevent the next 9/11.
Isn't that what all these discussions are about?
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