Singapore Airlines is facing several questions from consumers following a discovery that the in-flight entertainment system may be watching its users back.
Twitter user @vkamluk noticed the camera embedded into the bottom of the screen on their in-flight entertainment system and immediately snapped pics to put the announcement on blast.
Just found this interesting sensor looking at me from the seat back on board of Singapore Airlines. Any expert opin… https://t.co/wKrEIodwaH— Vitaly Kamluk (@Vitaly Kamluk)1550382186.0
People were furious.
How dare Singapore Airlines invade their privacy like that?
@vkamluk @SingaporeAir They know when you’ve been sleeping, they know when your awake, they know when you’ve been bad or good, ...— C҉h҉a҉t҉ S҉a҉u҉v҉a҉g҉e҉ 😼 (@C҉h҉a҉t҉ S҉a҉u҉v҉a҉g҉e҉ 😼)1550541965.0
@vkamluk @unpacker @SingaporeAir In some airline companies they say before the flight leaves that they will record… https://t.co/i0Ypwa9spS— Ooqaarx (@Ooqaarx)1550392076.0
@vkamluk @SingaporeAir I hope covering it with tape/sticker wouldn't violate the law.— Yeni Setiawan (@Yeni Setiawan)1550541130.0
@vkamluk @SingaporeAir Every breath you take Every move you make Every bond you break Every step you take I'll be w… https://t.co/yCn27wDDj3— Ayman Soliman (@Ayman Soliman)1550764199.0
@vkamluk @SingaporeAir In a world that is under total surveillance— CryptoParty.ch (@CryptoParty.ch)1550608473.0
Singapore Air was quick to reply.
@vkamluk Hi there, thank you for reaching out to us. We would like to share that some of our newer inflight enterta… https://t.co/anTDo8TU6I— Singapore Airlines (@Singapore Airlines)1550409823.0
@vkamluk These cameras have been disabled on our aircraft, and there are no plans to develop any features using the… https://t.co/WOKrhb7w5X— Singapore Airlines (@Singapore Airlines)1550409839.0
It seems as though the "camera embedded in the hardware" is the result of poor buying practices.
@vkamluk @SingaporeAir Looks like they bought a cheap tablet to throw in the back of the seat. Have you tried to bu… https://t.co/mfCSQ06Yy9— Kayla Rowe ✨FreeYourMind ✨ (@Kayla Rowe ✨FreeYourMind ✨)1550523397.0
@vkamluk @SingaporeAir FYI, a lot of these infotainment systems are running on Android tablets, so presumably the h… https://t.co/aFcziq0psu— Michael Brown (@Michael Brown)1550543440.0
And Singapore Airlines aren't the only offenders.
@vkamluk @SingaporeAir Here's a camera on an Emirates aircraft EK 720 https://t.co/xlPxkosTRM— Gamerz (@Gamerz)1550878389.0
@vkamluk @SingaporeAir @united has the same cameras 🤣 https://t.co/uc0xvnjGzZ— Guillaume C Jr. IV (@Guillaume C Jr. IV)1550732786.0
Passenger Sri Ray had a similar experience with an American Airlines flight to Japan.
"I am what one would call security paranoid," Ray, formerly a site reliability engineer at BuzzFeed, told Buzzfeed News.
"I observe tech in day-to-day life and wonder how a malicious person can use it in bad ways. When I looked at the shiny new screens in the new premium economy cabin of AA, I noticed a small circle at the bottom. Upon closer inspection, it was definitely a camera."
You can see those cameras in this video:
American Airlines Premium Economy - Selecting the Best Seats www.youtube.com
The biggest concern is that these systems could somehow be hacked and used to steal the viewer's identity.
While Singapore claims these cameras are "unhackable," some passengers had already proven that wrong...with very questionable motives.
@vkamluk @SingaporeAir Using Bluetooth on my phone, I was able to hack the camera six seats behind me and watch the… https://t.co/ya1LIFhAxz— AJA4 (@AJA4)1550550740.0
@itgrrl @chris_foulon @CyberSquarePeg @vmyths @SingaporeAir @vkamluk @EFF 'unhackable' is impossible— Frank TMB (@Frank TMB)1550576682.0
@vkamluk @SingaporeAir Surprise your loved ones … spy at them, whereever you ore they are. #spycam https://t.co/2E7mVwY4hO— padeluun 🎈 | Art d‘Ameublement (@padeluun 🎈 | Art d‘Ameublement)1550569183.0
And in a world that is gaining more and more sentient and idle technology, the potential for hacking has grown.
Most people own a home device such as an Alexa, a Google Home or a Siri. Lately, people have been realizing that their devices are always listening to them, as often, ads about things they have only said out loud will show up on their social media.
inching closer to Black mirror every day. free idea: you're in a big metal tube for 12 hours and the screen demand… https://t.co/RpVqFi0EXb— Internet of Shit (@Internet of Shit)1550540861.0
Confirmed - iPhone listens to your conversations https://t.co/TeWt54SKRr— OG (@OG)1550454010.0
Saw someone tweet about how the iPhone listens to what you’re saying. Been walking around the house the past week s… https://t.co/2k1BQ3JlDQ— John (@John)1550188997.0
Me trying to sleep tonight knowing my iPhone is listening to me at all times https://t.co/3CkBevWT7G— dancing_dawson™️ (@dancing_dawson™️)1548900679.0
It just really seems like we may not be safe or unobserved anywhere.
Now, we can add "On flights" to that list.