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Cameras on Airliners

From a Wired News story:

Southeast Airlines said it plans to install digital video cameras throughout the cabins of its planes to record the faces and activities of its passengers at all times, as a precaution against terrorism and other safety threats.

In addition, the charter airline, based in Largo, Florida, 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, the airline said.

"One of the strong capabilities of the system is for the corporate office to be able to monitor what is going on at all times," said Scott Bacon, Southeast's vice president of planning. "From a security standpoint, this provides a great advantage to assure that there is a safe environment at all times."

How exactly will having cameras "assure that there is a safe environment at all times?" I understand the theory behind surveillance cameras: to enable a limited number of security personnel to effectively guard more territory than would otherwise be possible. But on an airplane? They're tiny spaces, with at least three flight attendants each on standard jets. What will the cameras show that the flight attendants won't be able to see with their own eyes?

The article goes on:

"We can install up to 16 cameras that can be located throughout the plane and could be covert or overt," said David Huy, SkyWay vice president of sales and marketing. "It enables us to monitor the activity in the aircraft in real time. We feel this will be very important. The federal government is looking at mandating some camera security and surveillance."
Now, of course, we know that airlines have been highly resistant to potential safety and security mandates. Are we to believe that an airline wants to spend money on such measures before being forced to do so?
He conceded the system would not prevent determined terrorists from sabotaging a plane, as the terrorists of the Sept. 11 attacks did. The purpose is to help law enforcement identify criminals and keep track of their whereabouts.
Their whereabouts? The criminal is on a plane! It's going from Point A to Point B! He can't get off!
Pilots could check the cabin before opening the cockpit door during a flight.
So I guess the viewing ports in the new reinforced doors are useless.
And, airlines could use the records to defend themselves in lawsuits over situations like air rage.
Now this is starting to sound more like a reason an airline would install cameras. But I don't think it's the real reason. The real reason is that this is a publicity stunt. Southeast is a tiny airline, classified as a charter service. They're looking for a way of bringing themselves some publicity -- and it has worked. Unfortunately, if prods the federal government into requiring such cameras -- "hey, look, the airlines are doing it on their own -- let's mandate it!" -- then Southeast will have done a great disservice in the pursuit of their own ends.


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Hallo Frank dat is toevallig een naamgenoot!
Ik zou graag willen weten als U familie bent.
Mijn familie komt uit Friesland.(Nederland)
Ik ontvang graag een berichtje van U.

Groeten van Frank Boosman

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