Living in the gaze of the Smart Nation and its sensor-enabled lamp posts

Someone remarked to me the other day that to call the ubiquitous device that is never far from our hands a "smartphone" is a bit of a misnomer, given that we mostly use it for every purpose other than telephony. We use it to surf the Internet, stream movies and music, text, e-mail, do business, take pictures and so forth. And only rarely, it seems, do we talk on it.

In the same way, to refer to the latest Smart Nation offering as "smart lamp post" makes it sound as though it is merely a street lamp with a camera tacked on to it. Given its powerful and far-reaching surveillance capabilities, it does rather a lot more than that.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 24, 2018, with the headline 'Living in the gaze of the Smart Nation and its sensor-enabled lamp posts'. Subscribe