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Some people call Singapore a surveillance state, or a city of sensors. That’s a long way from being dubbed a “fine city” for penalizing people for littering, chewing gum, jaywalking, and a host of other mundane things.
You can spot sensors, cameras, and GPS devices in public spaces, although the government says it’s part of its Smart Nation initiatives. A new law on “fake news,” which gives the government the right to order social media sites to put warnings next to posts it deems false, recently came into effect. Now hotels choosing to use facial recognition technology to automate check-ins also have to send guest data to the immigration department.
All this is making Singapore look just a bit more sinister, even though the new system is part of a continued drive to increase productivity in Singapore hotels.
Without a doubt, Singapore hotels need to use technology and improve efficiency as they continue to face a manpower crunch as supply increases, labor decreases, and restrictions on hiring foreign workers remain. Such a scheme as the E-Visitor Authentication, however, has to be handled and communicated properly — which, our report below suggests, hasn’t been the case.
Either way, this won’t make a dent: Tourism continues to grow in the city of censors.
Oops — or rather, sensors.
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Asia Editor Raini Hamdi [firstname.lastname@example.org] curates the Skift Asia Weekly newsletter. Skift emails the newsletter every Wednesday.