Singapore Gov’t Invites Biometrics Firms to Bid on Lamppost Surveillance Program

“Multiple firms have already shown interest in participating in LaaP, including SenseTime, which recently became the world’s most valuable AI specialist with the conclusion of a $600 million series-C funding round.”

The Singapore government is planning to install face-scanning surveillance cameras mounted in lampposts, and is inviting private sector biometrics specialists to bid on the project.Singapore Gov't Invites Biometrics Firms to Bid on Lamppost Surveillance Program

Dubbed “Lamppost-as-a-Platform” or “LaaP”, the project is organized by the government agency GovTech. The organization has not specified how wide-ranging the effort will be, but Reuters reports that the former head of Singapore’s civil service had said last year that LaaP will extend to all of the country’s 110,000 lampposts.

Multiple firms have already shown interest in participating in LaaP, including SenseTime, which recently became the world’s most valuable AI specialist with the conclusion of a $600 million series-C funding round. SenseTime’s facial recognition technology is used in China’s public surveillance apparatus, and one of its financial backers is Temasek, a Singaporean state-owned investment firm.

NEC may also be a contender. The company announced the conclusion of three smart government trials with the Singapore government at the start of this year, including a program involving the use of facial recognition and machine vision for the detection of suspicious activities in indoor and outdoor locations. With no official announcement, NEC’s potential involvement in LaaP is a matter of speculation at this point in time.

While such surveillance measures are likely to provoke concern among privacy advocates, the Singapore government says LaaP isn’t just about security, with authorities aiming to use smart sensors to collect environmental data and to monitor pedestrian and vehicular traffic.

Private sector firms have until May to register their interest in the project with GovTech, but the timeline for LaaP beyond that isn’t yet clear.

Sources: Reuters, Gizmodo

April 13, 2018 – by Alex Perala