A new feature on a travel app creates a virtual cabin to let you socialize and see information about fellow passengers.
For smartphone users, apps have streamlined some of life’s most stressful tasks. From helping the visually impaired to assisting with building websites, apps have been revolutionary for technology. The advances in innovation technology has also meant that smartphone users have become so used to turning to their phone to solve any kind of problem. Their capabilities are always expanding with new innovations being unveiled almost every day.
Another field app has proven particularly useful for travel by streamlining the process and making it transparent. Umetrip, a Chinese flight booking and online check in app has taken its own twist on the technology by extending its offering to incorporate a social element. The new update allows users to access information of their fellow fliers. Data such as names, hometowns and star signs are all accessible on the app. Umetrip users can then message fellow passengers directly or create a group chat without their permission. This indeed triggers privacy concerns.
TravelSky Technology, the state-owned aviation company that owns Umetrip, said in a statement that the new app feature meets the demands of its users. Passengers can edit their personal pages to show less personal information, or even turn off the option entirely. Critics argue that revealing the data and the messaging capability being on by default is the problem. Some argue the virtual cabin approach could encourage socialising on long journeys, especially amongst solo travellers. Others argue that they would not want their personal details accessed by strangers, especially when their permission hasn’t been sought. In response, the company has just announced the new update will deactivate the default function. After many companies now complying to GDPR regulations, how would you like your data to be handled?