Govt takes data security, personal privacy seriously

We thank Mr Raphael Teo Zhi Ren, Ms Florence Veronica Minjoot, Mr Tan Pin Ho and Mr Phillip Tan Fong Lip for their feedback (Concern over personal freedom, privacy with smart lamp posts, April 12; Surveillance cameras are good, April 13; No threat to privacy, personal freedom with smart lamp posts, April 16; Necessary to safeguard ourselves against terrorism, April 16).

Under the Smart Nation Sensor Platform project, we are progressively testing and deploying different ways to serve citizens better through sensors and related technologies.

Applications range from public safety to law enforcement. One example, as mentioned in Mr Evan Choong's letter, is SportSG's use of computer vision to better detect swimmers in distress (Good use of tech to monitor pools; April 13).

The Lamppost-as-a-Platform (LaaP) trial aims to make our lamp posts work doubly hard.

They do not just light up the streets, but can also provide various roadside sensors with a good vantage point and a power source. Applications being trialled include the assessment of street cleanliness, as well as the detection of unattended objects which can pose a security threat.

LaaP demonstrates how different agencies can come together and make use of technology to do more for the citizens. We welcome ideas from the public.

Finally, in an increasingly data-rich environment, the Government will continue to take data security and personal privacy seriously. The Government has no plans to use sensors for the purposes of social credit scoring or moral policing.

The recently enacted Public Sector Governance Act makes clear when data sharing is allowed across Government agencies, clarifies which agency is responsible and criminalises the misuse of data.

We will also take practical steps to keep our systems secure against data leaks and to have robust internal access controls to video feeds and other such data.

Rebecca Lim (Ms)

Director, Adoption and Engagement

Smart Nation and Digital Government Office

Prime Minister's Office

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 17, 2018, with the headline 'Govt takes data security, personal privacy seriously'. Print Edition | Subscribe