SINGAPORE: National carrier Singapore Airlines (SIA) on Tuesday (Feb 19) reassured passengers that cameras embedded in some of its inflight entertainment systems have been "permanently disabled" since they were installed.
The airline added that it has no plans to use the embedded cameras.
Its response comes after a flurry of complaints on social media by passengers who had spotted the cameras on SIA aircraft and raised concerns about their privacy.
On Tuesday, SIA said that the cameras were built into the hardware and provided by the equipment manufacturer.
“Some of our newer inflight entertainment systems provided by the original equipment manufacturers do have a camera provisioned and embedded in the hardware," SIA told Channel NewsAsia, adding that the manufacturers intended to use the cameras for future developments.
"These cameras have been permanently disabled on our aircraft and cannot be activated on board," said SIA. "We have no plans to enable or develop any features using the cameras."
Passenger Vitaly Kamluk had posted photos of the device on Twitter on Sunday, asking SIA to clarify the use of the cameras.
The aircraft with cameras embedded in the inflight entertainment systems include SIA's A350-900s (medium-haul, long-haul and ultra-long-range), A380s, Boeing 777-300ERs and 787-10s.
In all, there are 84 aircraft with cameras embedded in the inflight entertainment systems.
Passengers have also raised concerns that the cameras may be used by SIA to record or store information.
"I am sure Singapore Airlines are using those cameras to collect data about our habits when watching videos. Very likely. Very interesting," wrote Twitter user Callsign.
Some users said the cameras should be physically covered up.
"I'm sure you could put us at ease by covering the cameras. I'm sure you can find some small Singapore Airlines stickers to put on," wrote Twitter user Kate.
Another Twitter user, Dan Gillmor, wrote: "Yes, these are cameras, and while Singapore Airlines says they've been disabled (were they capturing videos before?), there's nothing - other than current corporate policy - stopping the airline from re-enabling. Bring a small amount of duct/masking tape on trips."
Twitter user CyberSharpAware said: “Doesn’t matter what you say, those cameras need to be physically covered if they are ‘disabled’, as you say.”