Airlines to have spy system to thwart terror threat

Every move of airline passengers, including conversations, would be monitored through a new security system which is being developed to tackle terror threats on flights.
HT Image
HT Image
Updated on Jun 28, 2010 02:38 PM IST
Copy Link
IANS | By, London

Every move of airline passengers, including conversations, would be monitored through a new security system which is being developed to tackle terror threats on flights.

Experts at Reading University are working on to develop a software to detect suspicious behaviour of passengers on board aircraft with the help of a combination of cameras, microphones, explosive sniffers and a sophisticated computer system, The Telegraph newspaper reported here.

The research team, headed by James Ferryman, has already conducted trials of the camera system on a British Aerospace plane and the computer system on a mock airbus.

The software can scan unusual behaviour or events, such as unattended luggage or an individual going against the crowd flow. Microphones would eavesdrop conversations and alert the deck if anything suggests terrorist behaviour. Explosive sniffers would be able to detect if a bomb is planted.

All this information would be analysed by computer and if it spotted something untoward, the flight deck would be told instantly, the paper said.

Similar systems have been deployed at stations and airports around the world, using CCTV to gather information and software to analyse it.

"What we are doing is extending technology already used at airports and railway stations and placing it on an aircraft," Ferryman said.

Cameras dotted around an aircraft would look out for abnormal activities such as several passengers entering a lavatory at the same time or individuals seeming agitated.

One option would be to allocate some seats to passengers whose behaviour has already raised concern at the airport, so they could be monitored on board.

The focus of the project is to develop a software which can spot a genuine threat. "We want to avoid saying that nervous passengers are potential terrorists," Ferryman said

According to researchers, this technology would have thwarted the "underpants bomber" who tried to detonate an explosion on a Christmas Day flight to Detroit.

"It is known that the terrorist was acting nervously in the airport prior to boarding - this could have been picked up with the same automated CCTV technology - and that they spent time in the toilet assembling the components of the explosive," Ferryman said.

The research is being funded by the EU Security of Aircraft in the Future European Environment (SAFEE) project.

A Department for Transport spokesman said: "We have no plans to instruct airlines to install this system on their planes".

Close Story

Less time to read?

Try Quickreads

  • A forensic technician ties a used police line together to seal off a crime scene in Monterrey. 

    Man dies in jet-propelled truck crash at US air show

    Video taken at the Battle Creek Executive Airport by apparent air show attendees and posted on social media showed the truck losing control, bursting into flames and crashing, flipping over multiple times as horrified spectators looked on.

  • An ambulance and armed police are seen during the evacuation of people at the Fields shopping center in Copenhagen, Denmark, on July 3, 2022 after Danish media reported a shooting. (Photo by Olafur Steinar Gestsson/Ritzau Scanpix/AFP)

    3 dead after shooting at shopping mall in Copenhagen; one arrested

    The Royal House said on its website late on Sunday that an event in southern Denmark to commemorate the end of the first three stages of the Tour de France cycling race, hosted by the Danish Crown Prince and with Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen in attendance, had been cancelled.

  • People rally in support of abortion rights Saturday, July 2, 2022, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

    Texas clinics halt abortions after state high court ruling

    The Friday night ruling stopped a three-day-old order by a Houston judge who said clinics could resume abortions up to six weeks into pregnancy. The following day, the American Civil Liberties Union said it doubted that any abortions were now being provided in a state of nearly 30 million people.

  • Other places from which Google will not store location data include fertility centers, addiction treatment facilities, and weight loss clinics.

    Google to delete user location history on US abortion clinic visits

    "If our systems identify that someone has visited one of these places, we will delete these entries from Location History soon after they visit," Jen Fitzpatrick, a senior vice president at Google, wrote in a blog post. "This change will take effect in the coming weeks."

  • Professor Ajay Agrawal, who was honoured with the Order of Canada in the 2022 list. (Credit: University of Toronto)

    Two Indo-Canadian academics honoured with Order of Canada

    Two Indo-Canadian academics, working on research to advance the betterment of mankind, have been honoured with one of the country's most prestigious awards, the Order of Canada. Their names were in the list published by the office of the governor-general of Canada Mary Simon. Both have been invested (as the bestowal of the awards is described) into the Order as a Member. They are professors Ajay Agrawal and Parminder Raina.

Story Saved
Saved Articles
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Monday, July 04, 2022