The Singapore government seeks to install smart lamp posts that have scary, powerful facial detection tech

Photo: Pixabay
Photo: Pixabay

In case people forget that Singapore’s a highly advanced surveillance state with next to no citizen privacy, in comes this GovTech project that seeks to install ‘smart’ lampposts across the country to monitor absolutely everything that’s happening on the streets.

The Sunday Times reported that lamp posts in the one-north and Geylang districts will be turned into smarter devices that can collect and transmit environmental, crowd, and vehicular data to government agencies, aside from their standard purpose of providing illumination. It’s all for the greater good, according to GovTech, as the data can be used for better urban planning and quicker responses to any situation.

Enforcement against errant personal mobility devices (PMDs) will easier too, as camera and artificial intelligence-based video analytics systems can determine if riders are traveling over the legal speed limit on footpaths (15kmh). “The data will be captured and an alert will be sent to the relevant agency,” wrote The Sunday Times.


Smart? Yes. Too smart? Most probably. After all, the smart lamp posts boast facial detection tech powerful enough to index faces to “determine gender, race, and age” and even carry out facial matching against databases. That’s a serious concern for privacy matters in an already highly monitored nation.

This unconstrained access to our personal data and our activities will go nationwide — the government is looking to expand the smart lamppost project across the island with more than 100,000 lamp posts.

With privacy being a growing concern worldwide in light of Facebook’s massive Cambridge Analytica scandal, Singaporeans should be disturbed about yet another panopticon. Of course, folks can argue that the Singapore government won’t abuse their power over our personal data, but (a) security breaches are entirely possible and (b) who watches the watchmen?


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One thought on “The Singapore government seeks to install smart lamp posts that have scary, powerful facial detection tech

  1. What are the safeguards on the use of the surveillance data when there is a change of government? If Barisan Nasional government had the ability to monitor every single area and every single person in the country, would there be a peaceful change of power as has happened now in Malaysia. Singapore already has taken over the place of Malaysia as the 3rd longest single party rule in the world. I would like to see that Singapore exists with rule of law, freedom of expression and hopeful for the future when it is 100 years old.

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