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Facial Recognition Lampposts Spark Privacy Concerns in Singapore

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Published on : Apr 13, 2018

The tiny yet hi-tech city state of Singapore, obsessed with perfection and safety and intending to take it a notch higher is now on course to test facial recognition on lampposts. If it yields proper results, soon surveillance cameras could be mounted on top of more than one lakh lampposts in the city. Linked to facial recognition software, this would enable the government to identify specific faces in the crowd.

While the government has clarified that it is for crowd analytics and for strengthening operations against terrorist threats, common people fear it would generate privacy concerns.

Project Part of Smart Nation Plan

The government agency taking care of the pilot project is called GovTech. It has provided companies time until May to express their interest to provide technology for the network. As per a government spokesman, the trail entails trying out different types of sensors on lampposts such as cameras that can underpin backend facial recognition technologies.

The project is a part of the “smart nation” plan in which technology is being leveraged big time to better lives of the inhabitants of the nation. While such video surveillance networks are a regular feature in metropolis such as New York and London, they have not generated any privacy concerns so far. This is because they do not entail extensive use of facial recognition technology.

Such facial recognition technology, however, is common in Shanghai and Beijing – the two Chinese cities. A spokesperson for GovTech clarified that protecting personal data and preserving privacy will be given priority while implementing the project.