Dashboard to control all Home Team robots on trial at Toa Payoh

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But at this stage, development is primarily for the Matars, Xavier and Rover-X, he said.

Mr. Ong added that the progress of the system was encouraging.

“We are encouraged by our progress so far, especially seeing how our work has helped keep Singapore safe. We hope to further harness the potential of technology to be a force multiplier for the home team. “

When the autonomous robot Xavier was seen patrolling during a trial at the Toa Payoh HDB Hub in September last year, concerns were raised about surveillance and privacy.

International media made headlines about the robot, fearing a dystopian surveillance state where privacy would be violated and sacrificed.

There were also concerns that these technologies could be abused if accessed by bad actors.

Asked about fears the dashboard could be abused if hacked, Mr Ong said there are many safeguards in place.

“The system is designed with cybersecurity in mind,” he said.

“We know there are concerns about how this system could be used if it is compromised, but we are always vigilant to ensure that this does not happen. We do this by continuously subjecting the system to vulnerability assessments and rigorous penetration testing.”

Mr. Stas Protassov, co-founder and chief technology officer of cyber protection company Acronis, said that if the dashboard was targeted and compromised, attackers could take control of all connected devices.

“Most robots have additional measures in place to prevent them, for example, from driving on a busy street – but they could still be used to create nuisance and inconvenience to the public,” he said. .

“The biggest problem is, of course, privacy leaks. Access to these camera feeds could be used to spy on people or leak adverse images to the public.

Tan Ern Ser, associate professor of sociology at the National University of Singapore, said surveillance is a double-edged sword.

“It can help solve crimes faster, which is a good thing, but it could also be seen as rather intrusive by law-abiding citizens who value their privacy,” he said.

“They may also be concerned about routinely collected data, even if it is not related to crime, but could become an instrument of social control.”

Asked if he thought Singaporeans were ready to accept more robots, drones and cameras for police surveillance, Professor Tan said they would likely be ambivalent because of the pros and cons.

“However, if there is strong confidence in authorities that they will use the devices for their intended purpose and not for anything else, they will likely tolerate it, if not accept it,” he said.

“I believe it comes down to trusting and asserting the authorities.”

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