From Michael Reilly’s “In-flight surveillance could foil terrorists in the sky” (New Scientist: 29 May 2008):
CCTV cameras are bringing more and more public places under surveillance – and passenger aircraft could be next.
A prototype European system uses multiple cameras and “Big Brother” software to try and automatically detect terrorists or other dangers caused by passengers.
The European Union’s Security of Aircraft in the Future European Environment (SAFEE) project uses a camera in every passenger’s seat, with six wide-angle cameras to survey the aisles. Software then analyses the footage to detect developing terrorist activity or “air-rage” incidents, by tracking passengers’ facial expressions.
“It looks for running in the cabin, standing near the cockpit for long periods of time, and other predetermined indicators that suggest a developing threat,” says James Ferryman of the University of Reading, UK, one of the system’s developers.
Other behaviours could include a person nervously touching their face, or sweating excessively. One such behaviour won’t trigger the system to alert the crew, only certain combinations of them.