Archive | June, 2008

Don’t Sweat or Scratch Your Face Whilst Flying


If not the magic camera in the sky might think you are a terrorist and a squad of crack F16s might be dispatched to blow up your plane..

Don’t go to the toilet too often too, or walk around too much…or do anything really. Better just sit in your seat with a blank expression on your face and not move..but then that might be detected as suspicious behaviour too?

An EU aviation safety project is testing a camera-based passenger surveillance system intended to spot terrorists poised to rush the cockpit.

According to a report in the New Scientist, the European Union’s Security of Aircraft in the Future European Environment (SAFEE) project relies on video cameras being built into every passenger’s seat. Rumours of such aircraft anti-hijack systems have been flying around since the 11 September attcks.

Each camera tracks passengers’ facial expressions, with the footage then analysed by software to detect developing terrorist activity or potential air rage. Six wide-angle cameras are also positioned to monitor the plane’s aisles, presumably to catch anyone standing by the cockpit door with a suspiciously crusty bread roll.

It seems pretty dodgy to me, I mean it’s all well and good but what’s the point in detecting terrorists AFTER they are already on the plane?

What are you gonna do? Just make everyone panic right.

The software watches for all sorts of other terrorist-like activities too, including running in the cabin, someone nervously touching their face or excessive sweating. An innocent nose scratch won’t see the F16s scrambled, but a combination of several threat indicators could trigger a red alert.

The system was tested earlier this year in a dummy Airbus A380. Unsurprisingly, the researchers who built the system, including Dr James Ferryman from Reading University, said the test went well. Dr Ferryman admitted that the system still needs to be tested on thousands more passengers before it can be proven as reliable though.

Well the guys who made it say it works well – doesn’t that give you a lot of faith?

Source: The Register

Posted in: Legal Issues, Privacy

Topic: Legal Issues, Privacy


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