Administrators at one of Australia’s most high-profile sports venues are considering implementing security based on automated facial recognition, but may have a bit of a tug-of-war with government authorities over the matter.
The plans came to light during a parliamentary counterterrorism inquiry, where VenuesWest CEO David Etherton suggested that the firm is evaluating the possibility of bringing this kind of biometric security to the Optus Stadium in Perth. Etherton said that the 60,000-seat venue already has the CCTV infrastructure to support the use of facial recognition software for security purposes.
But Etherton caused some friction with member of the parliamentary committee when he revealed that VenuesWest’s overall emergency response plans had not been shared with government authorities. Asked by an MP how VenuesWest could provide assurance about the effectiveness of its antiterror efforts without sharing its plans with the government, Etherton questioned whether anyone in the cabinet actually had the security expertise needed to assess such plans.
It isn’t clear how Etherton’s comments will ultimately bear on the parliamentary inquiry’s consideration of biometric security and other antiterror and emergency response plans, but these hearings will continue for some weeks, with the Community Development and Justice Standing Committee slated to deliver a report on these issues by November.
February 14, 2018 – by Alex Perala