Synesis stands to earn money from CCTV cameras in public places

Belarusians are "offered" to pay for surveillance /
Belarusians are "offered" to pay for surveillance /

Minsk restaurateurs complain that police are demanding that their establishments be connected to Belarus' "Big Brother" - a total video surveillance system developed by Synesis.

"When I was getting another approval for post 11 p.m. working hours, they demanded from me a copy of the application for 24x7 Panoptes ["subsidiary" of Synesis, which won the tender to select the technical operator of the Republican Public Safety Monitoring System (RPSMS). - Euroradio] from the owner of the premises," says businessman.

Connecting a single camera to the Kipod platform, developed by Synesis and used by the RSMSB, costs 30 BYN (20 for specifications and 10 - for connecting). Added to this is the cost of cameras. Connecting each camera costs another 10 rubles. And then you have to pay subscription fee of 103.95 rubles for each camera every month.

Recently, Synesis was put under EU sanctions with the phrase "the company benefits from Lukashenka's regime and supports him". Synesis believes there are no grounds for the sanctions and is going to appeal them. But can't the customers who come to "24x7 Panoptes" after the insistence of the security forces to connect to the video surveillance system be called a benefit?

Сколько Synesis планировал зарабатывать на видеокамерах в общественных местах

A "24x7 Panoptes" employee interviewed by Euroradio says he has not heard anything about the link between the surveillance cameras and the opening hours of the Minsk eat out places. "We connect those who apply," he says.

At the same time, the company does not deny the connection between the appearance of new customers and the MIA:

"If a facility is on the list of places that must be equipped with a video surveillance system, it must be connected - in accordance with Alyaksandr Lukashenka's decree No. 187 "On the republican system for monitoring public safety." As long as the injunction has not come into force, the cafe can continue to operate as before. But then they will start to send notices. So it is better to be connected or to install cameras right away. The list and the warrants are handled by the Ministry of Internal Affairs". 

Thousands of facilities on the lists

Is it even possible to estimate how much money Synesis is going to earn from servicing the cameras connected to Kipod? We have found a list of facilities that must be equipped with surveillance systems. They are made separately for each region and the city of Minsk. All but the list for Vitsebsk region is publicly available. 

These documents list thousands of facilities. They are stationary shops and catering joints, nightclubs and discos, educational institutions, health care organizations, tourist facilities, permanent sites for public events, entrances and exits from the cities, places "posing increased man-made and environmental hazards, conditionally vulnerable to subversion". The criteria for classifying a facility as one that must be equipped with surveillance can be found here. 

In Homel region alone, there are 3,807 such facilities. In a similar list of Minsk region - there are 1,393 of them. It took Brest Regional Executive Committee 42 pages to list the facilities that require video surveillance, and Hrodna - 57 pages. In 2014 (the most recent I could find), the list for the Mahiliou region included 459 places. But this is just the city of Mahiliou. Later, some facilities were removed from the list, while others were added.

In Minsk, the list of "public places subject to compulsory equipment by video surveillance systems" consists of 261 lines. It includes bars, stores, shopping malls, nightclubs and gambling clubs, casinos, hotels, cinemas, a zoo and even a dolphinarium. 

The subscription fee for each camera connected to the Kipod, is 103 rubles 95 kopecks per month. If each facility in Minsk has a single camerae connected, the total subscriber fee will be 27 thousand 130 rubles. You can calculate the figures for the regions yourself.