This post is also available in: heעברית (Hebrew)

flight safety regulationsDiscussions in the aftermath of the Germanwings plane crash have raised the demand that surveillance cameras would be put in the cockpit, as an extra precaution enabling outside monitoring of whatever is happening there, even when only one of the pilots is present. According to this idea, all pilot activities will be recorded and then kept in a third “black box”, on top of a black box that records the aircraft’s data and another that records the pilots’ voices.

A demand to install surveillance cameras in the passenger chambers of passenger flights was first made several years ago by the Russian flight authorities. They claimed that constant videoing of the passenger chambers will serve as a tool to improve flight safety in emergency cases.

For several years now flight safety bodies have been demanding that video recordings will be added to the data in the “black boxes”. This requirement, they explain, will enable them to see how the pilots reacted in a time of crisis and, in this way, help improve the standard regulations regarding such cases. So far pilot organizations and unions have blocked efforts to install security cameras in cockpits, claiming this would infringe on their privacy.

As to the demand that surveillance cameras be installed in passenger chambers: the Russian aerial safety authorities claim that in several accident cases it turned out that most of the injuries were not brought about as a direct result of the plane crash itself, but as a result of secondary issues such as passenger panic when the plane was evacuated. The Russian authorities say, that without cameras to record these cases, it would be impossible to improve evacuation regulations and the safety measures planned for crisis cases.

The demands raised by the Russian safety authorities were very forceful and led to a big argument, because human rights bodies claimed that the current massive deployment of surveillance cameras in public institutes and stores infringes on people’s privacy. Cameras set up in passenger chambers in passenger flights will bring to a situation where each of the passengers’ movements will be recorded.

On the other hand, those who are in favor of installing surveillance cameras in passenger chambers claim it would help greatly in cases of a terrorist attack. The pilots, locked and barricaded in the cockpit, would be able to see exactly what is happening behind them.