2020 Olympics Organizers Announce Biometric Security System

“NEC’s NeoFace system will be used to identify authorized individuals, including athletes, staff, and volunteers, seeking entry into venues such as the International Broadcast Centre, the Olympic Village, and the main stadium.”

Organizers of the 2020 Olympics and Paralympic Games in Tokyo have confirmed that they are planning to implement biometric security based on facial recognition.

The technology is being provided by NEC, which has previously demonstrated its expertise in facial recognition through its success in National Institute of Standards and Technology evaluations. NEC’s NeoFace system will be used to identify authorized individuals, including athletes, staff, and volunteers, seeking entry into venues such as the International Broadcast Centre, the Olympic Village, and the main stadium.

In announcing their plans to use facial biometrics-based security, Games organizers emphasized that their aim is to improve efficiency and to help participants avoid any health issues related to anticipated hot temperatures. They also stressed that the technology will work with individuals of varying heights, including those in wheelchairs, and that it sports an accuracy of 99.7 percent.

While the public use of facial recognition technology is coming under intense scrutiny in the West, Olympics organizers may be able to avoid controversy by focusing the technology on Games participants and not attendees. A plan to link tourists’ fingerprint biometrics to their passports and payment accounts, meanwhile, may prove to be more contentious if it is put into action.

Sources: Reuters, The Verge

August 7, 2018 – by Alex Perala