Not The Most Surveilled

Despite many CCTV cameras in public, Singapore does not rank high in the list of the most surveilled country in the world.

Singapore is the world’s leading ‘smart city’ – a city that uses data collected from a range of sources such as social media, sensors and CCTV cameras to make its facilities and services more efficient and to enhance its citizens’ quality of life. The ubiquitous use of CCTV by its Smart Nation initiative has reportedly helped to reduce traffic congestion, littering and vandalism, and has successfully located criminals using facial recognition technology.

When I was there, I noticed lots of CCTV cameras on the street especially at traffic junctions, MRT stations, bus stops and even outside of HDB flats. I won’t be surprised if thefts are non-existent in public places. Not only are there many CCTV cameras, there are also robot security personnel which was deployed near Parliament House.

Whilst the surveillance makes the city very safe, I was concerned about privacy issues. But then I suppose, the authorities would only zoom in on you if the situation merits it, for example, traffic accidents, an altercation in public or other emergencies.

Surveys vary about how much Singaporeans are being watched in public – some report Singaporeans are the fourth most surveilled citizens in the world – after China, US and the UK, while some other reports rank Singapore as the 11th most surveilled city in the world.

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