M any of us give away our personal data
quite freely nowadays, often through
signing up to loyalty schemes with
organisations such as airlines, shops and hotels.
Indeed a mere 5% discount coupon can often
be enough to tempt us to part with our data.
In January, consumer credit reporting
company, Experian released its Global Identity
and Fraud Report, a survey of more than 10,000
consumers around the world. Among the
findings, 70% of respondents indicated that
they are willing to share more personal data
with the organisations they interact with online,
particularly when they see a benefit such as
greater online security and convenience.
Also in January, research from the US-based
Center for Data Innovation revealed that only
33% of respondents to its national online poll
of 3,221 US adult internet users were unwilling
to let mobile apps collect either their biometric
or location data, while 58% were willing to let
a third party collect at least one piece of sensitive
personal data, such as biometrics, location or
medical data, in exchange for a service or benefit
such as a discount.
These are remarkable figures, and great news
for the big business of data mining. Even when
we are given privacy legislation such as Europe’s
General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)
which requires websites to ask visitors for their
consent to track their activity, many just click the
consent button without reading the conditions –
so much so that instead of a formal ‘I agree’
button, some sites have a ‘whatever’ or ‘yeah sure’
button, reflecting most users’ attitudes.
In the physical world, we are captured by
surveillance cameras as we go about our daily
lives and accept it for the greater good, and
happily submit biometric data as a way to make
our lives easier, especially if it means we can
pass through airports more quickly.
However, when a camera was discovered
embedded in an IFE monitor on a Singapore
Airlines flight earlier this year, it was considered
an intrusion too far – even when the airline
stated that the cameras were simply a part of the
standard hardware and had not been activated.
Inevitably a Twitter debate ensued, with many
posting that they find the idea of such devices
invasive, others that they saw no problem, while
other airlines flying with cameras in their IFE
displays were named and ‘shamed’.
The reaction is fascinating, especially given
the multitude of inflight experience concepts
in development based on in-seat cameras
monitoring passengers. With such systems
crew and hardware could respond to any detected
passenger discomfort, whether emotional or
physical, with other ideas including eye tracking
for IFE control, and even being able to virtually
‘try on’ inflight retail items such as sunglasses.
People have also expressed an interest in being
able to make video calls from their seats, but a
camera, which helps future-proof the hardware,
and which would enable such features, has not
been well received.
Should passengers be concerned about the
potential privacy aspects of cameras, or should
they be excited about the inflight experience
aspects of the feature? Find out on p34…
Adam Gavine, editor