Newark Airport’s Lights Spy On Visitors As They Travel Through

Newark Airport’s Lights Spy On Visitors As They Travel Through

New LED lights at Terminal B connect to sensors, cameras and each other over a wireless network.

Leah Gonzalez
  • 19 february 2014

New light fixtures at Terminal B of Newark Liberty International Airport are not just there to keep the terminal bright and safe, but to also keep an eye on the visitors and activities in the airport.

Developed by Sensity Systems, the system of 171 LED light fixtures connect to various sensors and cameras installed around the terminal and is part of a wireless network that collects and inputs data into a software that can spot issues like long lines, traffic, and suspicious activity.

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which operates the Newark Airport, are already looking into installing similar systems in other terminals and buildings.

The new system hasn’t been in place long, but it has already raised concerns regarding privacy and information management. As reported by The NY Times, Fred H. Cate, director of the Center for Applied Cybersecurity Research at Indiana University, said that with technologies like the one developed by Sensity Systems, not a lot of thought is given to how to use the data collected or how to manage it. Chief Executive of Sensity Systems Hugh Martin was also quoted as saying, “there is a lot of value, I think, if we do it right, to this information.”

For now, the information and data collected by the system at Newark Airport will be owned and maintained by the Port Authority and no other agencies will have access to the data.

Integrating technologies and sensors into LED lighting systems is a new market that is slowly growing and gaining interest. Companies like Philips and Cisco Systems are already exploring applications in security and safety, mapping and navigation. Just recently Philips revealed a new retail LED lighting system that can help direct supermarket shoppers with maps of their location and directions to products they need.

Sensity Systems

Source: The NY Times

Image: Newark Liberty International Airport


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