United Airlines uses stickers to cover controversial seatback cameras

Brittany A. Roston - Apr 26, 2019, 6:48 pm CST
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United Airlines uses stickers to cover controversial seatback cameras

Earlier this year, United Airlines was one of multiple airline companies that confirmed the infotainment systems installed in its airplanes contain cameras. The company said at the time that the cameras had never been active and that there weren’t any plans to use them in the future. In the most recent update, passengers have noted that the webcams are now covered.

Public attention was drawn to the infotainment system cameras, which face the passengers seated in front of the displays built into the backs of airplane seats, in February after a Singapore Airlines passenger noticed them and tweeted about it.

Days later, both United Airlines and Delta Airlines confirmed that infotainment displays installed in some of their aircraft also have cameras. For its part, United Airlines had confirmed that the cameras weren’t active and never had been.

Rather, the company said the cameras were built into the infotainment displays by the manufacturer as a default component that could be used for possible future features — video conferencing was the example given at the time. In a new update, BuzzFeed reports that United Airlines has covered these cameras with small circular adhesives, underscoring the point that they are not active.

The covers were spotted by a former BuzzFeed engineer while on a recent United flight. The news follows a NYT report in March that claimed United was considering a plan to cover the cameras using stickers to reduce passenger privacy concerns.


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