Biometric Security to be Used at the 2012 Olympic Games
What do biometric security, world-class athletes, and London, England have in common?…The 2012 Summer Olympic Games. This year over 10,000 Games Family Members (GFM) including athletes, team members, coaches, media, and officials, will be having biometric facial scans and fingerprints recorded by UK Border Agency officials before the Olympic Games begin on July 27. This is the first time a biometrics campaign of this scale has been implemented for the Olympics, and with terrorism and illegal immigration threat up to “severe” levels for the London Games, the UK isn’t leaving anything to chance.
UK officials have already begun collecting biometric data at visa offices overseas and will be visiting sporting events for the next several weeks to capture as much data ahead of time as possible. Each digital record includes a facial image and fingerprint scans. This is being added as an additional security measure beyond the accreditation pass that GFMs receive to go into and out of the Olympic Village.
Athletes who decline to have their biometrics recorded in their own country will be required to provide them upon arrival in London. The purpose of collecting the biometric records in advance is to increase security as well as speed up the immigration process to keep delays at a minimum. If this biometrics operation is successful, we could see it happen more frequently for major events that draw international visitors. As with any case in which biometrics records are being collected, there are questions about privacy and information security. Who has access to these records and what is to be done with the data after the Olympics are over? It won’t be long before biometric identity metrics are standard for security checks and these questions should definitely be kept in mind.
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