Absolutely no privacy anymore: Cathay Pacific seatback screens are definitely recording you

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Passengers flying on Cathay Pacific should expect absolutely no privacy.

Everything from your favorite in-flight dining choices and seatback entertainment selections to photographs taken onboard and even habits on the ground will be recorded, collected and saved.

Cathay Pacific’s new privacy policy is brutally honest or very creepy. Cathay will “collect and process” personal information from passengers including images from onboard aircraft, use of the in-flight entertainment system, hobbies, and activity at airports. Picture via Wikipedia

Flying on a commercial passenger plane isn’t the most private way of traveling, but for Cathay Pacific the life in the sky as well as on the ground of their passengers may now be an open book.


Beginning of 2019, it went viral. People started feeling observed 30,000 feet above the ground. Then, Cathay Pacific admitted it was keeping an uncomfortably close watch on some elite customers in an effort to understand what people like and what they don’t like.

A bit like Google and and other Tech giants when we speak about online ads.

The creepy policy has been in effect for months now, but a recent change to the carrier’s privacy policy is making clear exactly how potentially intrusive the new program could actually be in practice.

Meanwhile, the Hong Kong flag carrier has amended its official personal data collection policy to allow the airline to compile a database with detailed information on passengers’ use of in-flight entertainment systems (IFE) – including, but not limited to, images recorded by seatback cameras, customers’ activities at airport terminals and even data obtained about membership activity in competing hotel and airline loyalty programs. The airline further says that the collected data will be possessed by the company for “as long as necessary.”

While some airlines are trying to reassure customers that tiny seatback cameras installed in some IFE systems will not be used to monitor or record passengers, Cathay Pacific is doing the opposite and claims the rights to any images recorded by the devices.

This privacy politics will most probably spread to other airlines in the next few months. No privacy anymore… Like in China… Everywhere.

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