Concerns over mass installation of cameras

The Finance Minister recently shared the Government's plans to introduce a facial recognition system and install 11,000 more cameras in public areas such as hawker centres and linkways (Spending on security to be 'very major' Budget item; Feb 3).

Already, 65,000 public cameras have been installed across 10,000 housing estates over the years.

While security is always a priority, I have some concerns regarding this "major" item in security spending.

As we are a small island state, is it necessary to have so many cameras monitoring our every movement? Would this be an overkill and intrude too much into Singaporeans' privacy?

With the large amount of video and data being collected, what safeguards are there against the abuse of the system by government officers?

What are the processes and circumstances under which such video footage can be accessed, and the facial recognition system activated?

I note that government spending on the Home Affairs, Defence and Foreign Affairs ministries had risen more than 30 per cent over five years. Given the budgetary constraints Singapore is facing, are we prioritising our expenditure correctly by putting such large sums on cameras?

Heather Lim Pei Yi (Ms)