Newark Airport terminal lights tied to security system

Newark Airport terminal lights tied to security system

There are new LED lights greeting passengers at Newark Liberty International Airport's Terminal B but they do more than illuminate; they also are part of a security system that is watching you before you even get to the security checkpoint.

The lights are fitted with computer chips, cameras, sensors and wi-fi antennas. They collect data that can help detect suspicious activity or aid in police investigations.

Currently, the lights are only near the ticketing counters of the one terminal but the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which operates the airport, is considering expanding the pilot program to other terminals.

Advocates say the lighting systems can be used for a variety of useful applications. But others say the collection of more and more data raises privacy concerns.

The system also can aid in moving people and cars by identifying long lines.

The senors in the lights were designed by Sensity Systems. On its website the company explains: "LEDs aren’t new. Outdoor networks aren’t new. Networked sensors aren’t new. Big data and cloud computing aren’t new. Even the idea of adding networked devices to light poles has been tried before."

It goes on to say: "What’s new and exciting about Sensity’s LED-based NetSense platform is the way we’ve put it all together and how we deliver it to light owners as an easy-to-implement, turnkey package."

The Port Authority told Fox 5 News the main purpose for the new lights is energy efficiency and to reduce the airport's carbon footprint.