Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Tiny cameras to monitor the behaviour of airline passengers

Smart Mobs has a good post on 'Big brother will be watching you fly':

Tiny cameras the size of a fingernail linked to specialist computers will be used to monitor the behaviour of airline passengers as part of the war on terrorism, reports IOL.

Fitted to seat-backs, the cameras will record every twitch or suspicious movement before sending the data to onboard software that will check it against individual passenger profiles.

Scientists from Britain and Germany are spending £25 million (about R360-million) to develop a system they hope will make it virtually impossible to hijack an airliner by providing pilots and cabin crew with an early warning system. They say rapid eye movements, blinking excessively, licking lips or ways of stroking hair or ears are classic symptoms of somebody trying to conceal something.

A separate microphone will record speech, including whispers; Islamic suicide bombers whisper texts from the Koran in the moments before they explode bombs.

The software being developed by the scientists will be so sophisticated it will be able to take account of nervous flyers or people with a natural twitch, helping to ensure there are no false alarms.

... Airlines have given the scheme a cautious welcome, indicating it would be too expensive to fit on existing commercial aircraft and it would probably be 10 years before such systems were fitted to new planes.

A British Airways spokesperson said "R&D of better screening and detection equipment on the ground would be of more value at this time."

Thanks to Smart Mobs!

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