They felt it was candid camera

They felt it was candid camera

An offending camera that made Balam Road residents uncomfortable has been removed.

It was a subject of concern among those living in Block 31, as the camera appeared to face the insides of their rooms.

Installed by the National Environment Agency (NEA), it was removed last week, after it reached its "deployment limit" - the time that a camera can be set up for.

Mr Lee Kok Seng, who lives on the sixth floor in the affected block, said that for the one or two days it was there, his family had to make a conscious effort to draw the curtains.

"We had no privacy. It was like someone was always watching us," said the 57-year-old taxi driver.

However, the NEA said that strict procedures were in place to ensure that the privacy of the residents was protected.

"Surveillance cameras are positioned to focus on the external facade of suspected units, without zooming into the interior of the units," its spokesman said, adding that the camera was put up at the opposite block, Block 33, to apprehend a high-rise litterer. It was installed after educational efforts to get residents to show consideration for their neighbours failed.

But that was not reason enough for Mr Lee, who has had clothes drying outside his home soiled with curry from above.

He said that no matter what the reason, the camera should not have been placed in such a location.

In fact, security experts said that there is always a way to place cameras such that they do not poke their noses into anyone's home. They could, for instance, be placed parallel to the area that needs to be monitored.

"It is not at all difficult to find alternative spots for CCTVs. There should be correct preliminary investigation done," said Mr T. Mogan, president of the Security Association of Singapore, who also runs his own firm.

NEA started installing high-rise surveillance cameras in August last year. Up to September this year, 46 people have been caught on camera for high-rise littering.

Those caught face penalties of up to $1,000 per incident.

jalmsab@sph.com.sg


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