Hong Kong’s Cathay Pacific airline revealed “it is recording passenger activity on its aircraft via inflight entertainment systems and video cameras, re-opening an uncomfortable debate over surveillance on airplanes” reports CNN. The airline released their updated privacy policy at the end of July. In that, “Cathay confirmed it is collecting images of passengers while they’re on board as well as logging their usage of the in-flight entertainment system (IFE) and how they spend time during the flight.”

A spokesperson for Cathay Pacific told CNN “In line with the standard practice and to protect our customers and frontline staff, there are CCTV cameras installed in our airport lounges and onboard aircraft (one camera, positioned near the cockpit door) for security purposes.” Cathay’s actions are opening the privacy debate for travelers. Does this infringe on privacy to the point of no return?

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CNN reports that “while CCTV surveillance is accepted by many as a reassuring security measure, others feel tracking passengers in the confines of an airplane cabin is a step too far.” Despite potential security benefits in a day in age where terrorists use airlines as weapons, the recordings can also open up another avenue for potential security failures. As for Cathay Pacific airlines, “In October 2018, the airline reported a data breach that potentially impacted some in million passengers. British Airways also experienced a data breach in 2018 and was fined $230 million under the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation rules.”

While Cathay’s privacy policy notes it was designed to “improve the flying experience with additional personalization. The airline also says data could be shared with third-party partners for marketing purposes.”