Patrol Robots in Singapore trigger privacy concerns

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Government of Singapore has hired a bunch of patrolling robots to put the public on surveillance and see that they do not indulge in any undesirable social behavior such as hugging, kissing, and standing too close to each other, and such.

As per the sources reporting to Cybersecurity Insiders, these robots, dubbed Xavier, will be equipped with 7 cameras and will record every activity of the citizens that come into their camera vicinity.

Factually , they were employed to check whether the populace of Singapore was following COVID-19 protocols such as maintaining social distancing. Now, they have been assigned with an additional duty of moral policing the public, apart from keeping a tab of people smoking, parking their bicycles improperly and indulging in romance in public.

Till here, everything seems to be good! But Privacy advocates fear that the recordings that were gathered through the robotic surveillance tech can be used by criminals in other way. Like blackmailing and curbing civil liberties by implementing tight controls via intrusive technology.

Note 1- In August this year, only two robots were employed in a shopping mall and a housing estate to curb undesirable behaviors such as a congregation of over 5 people, illegal parking of vehicles on footpaths, indulgence in romance in public spots, illegal hawking and smoking in prohibited areas. As the project gathered great intelligence and helped in stopping corona virus spread to a large extent, the Govt authorities planned to hire and employee over 28 robots whose only duty is to watch the Singaporeans with the help of surveillance tech.

Note 2- Till date, the island was being guarded by over 83,000 police cameras and an equal number of physical security. Now, they plan to increase surveillance through robots that might help them in picking up criminal faces in a crowd.

 

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Naveen Goud is a writer at Cybersecurity Insiders covering topics such as Mergers & Acquisitions, Startups, Cyber Attacks, Cloud Security and Mobile Security