Cathay Pacific Airways says its uses cameras to record passengers

Cathay Pacific, an airline based in Hong Kong, has updated its privacy policy to reveal that it is logging in-flight infotainment system activity and using cameras to capture images of passengers. These images are not captured using cameras integrated into seat-back infotainment systems, according to the airline, which is instead using CCTVs located in airport lounges and inside airplanes.

In its new privacy policy, Cathay Pacific says, 'Your use of our inflight entertainment system and inflight connectivity' are two instances in which information related to travelers is collected. The privacy policy says it also gathers 'your images captured via CCTV in our airport lounges and aircraft,' as well as things like use of cargo services.

A Cathay Pacific spokesperson clarified the matter, telling CNN that one CCTV camera is located near the cockpit door in airplanes for 'security purposes.' As well, the airline has CCTV cameras in its airport lounges 'to protect our customers and frontline staff,' the spokesperson said. 'All images are handled sensitively with strict access controls. There are no CCTV cameras installed in the lavatories.'

The news fueled concerns that first came to light earlier this year regarding in-flight infotainment systems and their embedded cameras. A number of airlines had claimed they were not using the cameras to monitor customers and Cathay Pacific has confirmed that the same is true for its own seat-back systems.

In this case, the airline says the infotainment systems it has installed in planes do not feature cameras, microphones, or any sensors capable of monitoring the users. In its privacy policy, the company says it uses personal data it collects on customers for multiple purposes, including marketing, customer support, personalization, and loyalty programs.